Is Your Board Of Directors Organized to Lead?
The business literature is filled with stories regarding governance and Boards of Directors. Issues surrounding risk management, ethics, liability, executive compensation, and independent oversight have all received a tremendous amount of attention. Stockholder pressure and new regulations have forced many public companies to pursue significant changes in the role of their Boards. Private companies are also closely examining their Board composition, activities, and potential shortcomings.
Beyond the regulatory, governance, and accounting issues, a company can receive tremendous benefits from an independent, objective Board of Directors in terms of strategy, new ideas, approaches to resolving issues, and established business and community relationships. During periods of economic and marketplace challenges, this input can be especially critical to the growth and success of the company.
As you evaluate the composition and contributions of your Board, there are a number of questions to consider, including:
- Is your Board capable of addressing the strategic direction of the company and leading the company to the next level of success?
- Does your Board include a variety of skill sets and viewpoints which will provide a broad range of opinions and approaches to problems?
- Does your Board have the accounting, audit, risk management and financial expertise to address these issues in today’s market?
- Is your Board knowledgeable of the current and future interests of your owners, employees, and customers?
- Is your Board addressing the diversity issues, including ethnic, gender, and even geographic, which may represent critical elements of your company’s business environment?
If you are expanding your Board membership or replacing a retiring Board member, you want to make sure that you are adding an individual who has the time and the expertise to make a meaningful contribution to the success of the company. Many experienced Board members are resigning from boards because of the increased time requirement of serving on the board(s) and their other professional obligations.
Recently, Carl J. Taylor & Co. was engaged to assist an employee owned construction and manufacturing company in the recruitment of two new independent Board members. The company said, “In expanding our Board, we were seeking to add diversity candidates with a variety of very specific business, industry, and functional capabilities. Carl Taylor did an outstanding job of completing these very difficult searches.”
Every company must periodically make an assessment of its Board composition, the needs and future of the company, and the types of skills and experiences which will enable the company to most effectively attain and surpass its success objectives. Keep in mind that during a difficult economic time, the addition of a new Board member may represent one of the most productive and relatively low cost activities you can pursue.
Carl J. Taylor & Co. (http://www.carltaylorco.com) is an executive search firm based in Dallas. For over 20 years, the firm has successfully completed challenging search assignments for clients of all sizes in Texas and around the country.
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