Boosted board performance

Board Effectiveness Challenge

The Board was large – some 18 members – and the Chair felt that it wasn’t operating effectively. He told me that meetings lasted too long, some members had a habit of cancelling their attendance at short notice, and he wasn’t confident that they were making good decisions.

What we did

1. First, we wanted to understand how the Board interacted. We interviewed the Board members to understand their perspective and observed a Board meeting. From this we identified issues that broadly fell into two parts:

Structural issues for the Chair to take up with the organisation, including:

  • the size and composition of the Board, which needed to be reviewed
  • the time commitment expected of Board members, which needed to be more explicitly articulated on appointment

Behavioural issues that we could address to improve the effectiveness of the meetings, the dynamics of the Board membership and how the Board worked together.

2. Second, we ran a half day workshop. This was designed to surface the tensions between some Board members, increase mutual understanding of the Board members’ skills and strengths and to get clear on what they needed to do as a team to achieve their business objectives.

The focus was firmly on how to become more effective as a team in order to deliver business results.

The outcome

The whole exercise led to a measurable improvement in the Board’s effectiveness, both in how they interacted and in the quality of their decision-making.

The workshop created the opportunity for Board members’ concerns to be aired, addressed and resolved.

The structural issues that we had drawn to the Chair’s attention led to the size of the Board being reduced. Communications improved which led to a higher turnout to every meeting.

The Chair is delighted to report that his team is working more closely together and consequently achieving better results.

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