My 3 Learnings From Participating On A Board

Sep 5, 2019

1. Think outside the building

 Boards exist to create the strategy for an organisation in consultation with the CEO. We know the importance of systemic thinking required for setting strategy. It’s all about planning, assessing risk and corporate governance. Find out exactly what your board’s mandate is. That’s where your head has to be.

2. Know the Team

At a panel discussion I attended, one member advised getting to know all board members quickly. I’m grateful I followed this advice because I benefited greatly by building strong relationships early on. Each board member brings something unique to the board in skills, expertise and perspective. Healthy debates only occur in an atmosphere of trust and trust is earned over time. So have one-one-one meetings to find out where people on certain key issues. Find out how they think and feel about various topics that impact the organisation you represent.

3. Learn Board Etiquette

There are certain norms that govern how we behave in meetings and the same is true in the boardroom. Being on time, mutual respect and appropriate language are good examples. There are a few differences in expected behaviours in board meetings. Firstly, if you want to speak, make sure it’s material, craft your message carefully and use economy of words. If you’re asked a question, provide the answer and nothing else. Don’t waffle with minor detail. At the same panel discussion I mentioned previously, David Gonski admitted that this is his pet peeve.