Effective board management requires directors to take their responsibilities seriously, commit to the process and strive to continue to improve. It also requires a strong infrastructure to support the board and help them achieve their best results. This includes the governance tools, processes, and systems in place for the planning of meetings, materials development, portal management, logistics and communications.
The most effective boards are defined by a constant study of important, mission-critical drivers as well as opportunities and risks, and an emphasis on the key stakeholder engagement. This means requesting reports on suppliers, customers and other stakeholder interactions and trends as well as economic headwinds and opportunities. It also means going out in the field to see firsthand the way the company works and then bringing the insights back to the board.
The most important aspect of this pillar is the fundamental trust and respect that must exist between board members to enable quality discussion and debate, which includes controversial questions and opinions. It also requires a setting that is comfortable and even expected that the board members will not agree with management.
The availability and quality of information is essential for a board’s ability effectively perform its tasks. Leading boards are able to effectively make decisions through the use of an information infrastructure that is compatible with the board’s mission, engagement model and vision for excellence. This includes a clear authority matrix (sometimes called a RACI map) that clearly identifies which people and groups are accountable for, accountable to consulting on or being informed on specific subjects, and when those duties and roles are fulfilled.