board development



Boardroom excellence and board development

Board development has never been more important. Following the governance reports of Turnbull, Nolan, Cadbury, Greenbury and Hampel, boardroom standards are under the microscope. The quality and integrity of a company’s board has become an even more significant factor for institutional investors. In many sectors, rising stakeholder expectations are increasingly extending to the boardroom. ef can help your board take systematic steps to guard its values and improve its effectiveness through development.

board development



Approaches to appraising and developing the board

Governance audits

One way to take stock of governance is to conduct a governance health check. This helps the board look at the infrastructure, systems and policies of the board. The governance health check, or audit, can help board members look at how the board is populated, how board members develop themselves and other aspects of governance. For example, in the world of housing, we have helped many boards take stock of their governance practices, including using the Housing Corporation's "Treading the Boards" as a reference document.



The book, “Approaches to appraisal: a handbook for the effective board” explains that the Board must lead by example, learn current best practices and demonstrate its commitment to excellence. Confident and competent boards conduct regular reviews of their performance against goals, responsibilities and key skills.

We have introduced appraisal to many boards. Some have opted for a one-to-one or 360 degree approach of individual members but most have adopted a team-based approach. The choice will depend upon your board.


Developing the board and its members

Development of individual board members usually involves one-to-one coaching and typically takes three forms:

Critical event: A particularly challenging or important event is on the horizon or the person has reached an impasse.

Personal learning: The client learns tactics to handle personal issues such as managing stress or increasing confidence.

Professional learning: Here the client may wish to learn new skills in a confidential or condensed way.
Development of the board as a whole typically involves helping the group on the eight main factors of boardroom excellence, following an interview and questionnaire-based audit. This might involve, for example, strengthening committees, refining terms of reference or reframing agendas. In some instances, board competencies and board member competencies can be used to improve the performance of the board as a whole.


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