In the 21st century, competition has never been fiercer, and business is constantly changing. The key to success and longevity is adapting to your industry’s trends, and not just following them. This is what makes modern businesses so successful.
One of the best ways to keep your company up to date is by forming a board of directors. Even though it may seem like a formality and an easy task, when you’ve never done it before, the task seems daunting. However, with a little bit of knowledge and training, you can have a successful board of directors in no time.
In this article, we will get started with the board of directors definition, the importance of having a board, and the steps to forming a successful one.
What is a Board of Directors?
A board of directors, also known as a “board” for short, is a formal group that acts on behalf of the company and its stakeholders. It’s responsible for approving management decisions, controlling the methods and practices of the organization, and overseeing shareholder interests.
In many countries, public companies must have a board of directors. However, in exchange for a level of oversight, directors serve for a limited period of time. A group of investors and executives are chosen to sit on the board, and the responsibilities are clearly outlined along with their rights and privileges (CA).
In most setups, the board of directors encompasses 9 members. While some huge corporations may have as many as 31 members, most smaller companies have 3 members. The number of members you need is based on your company’s needs and the size of the company. The key thing to note is that the number must be odd, to ensure that there are no ties.
Why is it Important to Form a Board of Directors?
The rise of technology has made the role of a board of directors more vital than ever. In the 19th century, the board was an advisory body to the person who held the title of CEO and largely consisted of anonymous members.
However, with the rise of the Internet and social networking sites, people have become more involved in the lives of their companies. This has created a stronger sense of responsibility when it comes to stakeholder engagement and action.
In addition to that, with the advent of new technology and systems, the role of a board has changed. As a company grows, there are many more people who need to be involved in making decisions. That’s where having a board of directors comes into play.
The main purpose of a board is to provide oversight so that the CEO and other executives know what’s going on, and what needs to be done in order to be successful. It’s easy to ignore your shareholders or get caught up in a single-minded approach, and the board helps you to remember that you aren’t alone.
With a board, the members are able to be a part of the decision-making process. They can help to identify challenges, opportunities, and threats to the company. Not only will they provide a fresh point of view, but they’ll often offer solutions that have worked for them in the past as well.
Process of Organizing a Board of Directors
Although there are no strict rules when it comes to forming a board, there are certain steps that can make it more effective. In this section, we will discuss the steps you should follow in order to have a successful board.
1. Define the Purpose and Scope
Before you start looking for potential members, you will need to define the purpose and scope of your board. You should determine why you need to form a board, what sort of skills and strengths you are looking for in your board members and the general scope of their responsibilities.
A good place to start is by thinking about the benefits that you want your board to bring. It’s important to think about what you’ll gain from having members, and how those benefits will affect your company.
This process will also determine the number of members that you need on your board. For a startup, you may only need 3 people, but for larger companies, it’s better to have more. You can always add members later on if necessary.
2. Do Some Research
Before you start looking for potential members, you should do some research on those individuals. You should know a little bit about their backgrounds and how they might be an asset to your company.
In the digital era, it’s a lot easier to research board members than ever before. You can read up on their backgrounds, browse through their social media profiles, and even check out their LinkedIn profiles.
However, you don’t want to get caught up in shallow facts, and the key to this sort of research is to be able to see the bigger picture. You should focus on their past accomplishments and experiences, as well as what they will bring to your organization.
3. Analyze and Plan
One of the most effective ways to make sure that your board is successful is to plan out their tasks and responsibilities. A good plan will ensure that everyone has a clear set of goals, and their roles are defined. The plan should also include a schedule to work from, the areas that need to be covered, and the skills and strengths of each person.
This is a crucial step as it will help you to see if your board has the right types of skills and experience that you need at this point in time.
4. Find Members
Once you have a clear idea of what you want for your board members, you should begin the search for candidates. If you need to expand your board in the future, it’s a good idea to consider who might be included in a future expansion. If there are any weak spots that need to be strengthened, you should start searching for new members now.
You can use a number of different methods to put out your search, including:
- Word of Mouth
One of the most effective ways to find board members is by talking to people and asking them if they know anyone who might fit the bill. You can reach out to friends, family members, former coworkers, and anyone else who might have an idea of who you’re looking for. You should try your best to keep it professional, as you will want these board members on board for the long haul.
- Social Media
Of course, the easiest way to find potential board members is through social media. Online platforms such as LinkedIn allow you to network with other professionals, make business connections, and even find potential investors. This is the fastest and easiest way to find the people that you need.
- Resume Database
Undoubtedly the most traditional way of finding board members is simply by looking through a resume database. The database will likely consist of applicants who are looking for more opportunities in corporations just as you are.
Although you can’t guarantee that the people in the database will be a good fit, they should at least be qualified candidates. You will also be able to filter your results based on location, prior experience, and even board standards so that you can find people who are a good fit for your organization.
5. Conduct an Interview
Once you have your candidate shortlisted, it’s time to start interviewing them. The first interview should be a general, informal meeting in which you can get to know each other.
In your second interview, you can talk about the various roles that the board member will play. You should discuss the written plan of how they will fulfill their roles, and how their past experiences can benefit the company.
The third interview should be a final decision on whether you hire them or not. You should take this interview seriously, as it’s your last chance to make up your mind. You should ask them about their past experiences, their goals, and any other relevant information that’ll help you make a decision.
6. Submit Your Board
After the interview, you will have to submit your board candidates to the company’s CEO or business manager for approval. It’s important to note that the board will only be formed once it has been approved by the board director.
You may be wondering what the process for approval is, but there is no secret formula. However, a good rule of thumb is to keep it simple. You should discuss the reasons why you want this person on the board, and how they will benefit the company. You should also ensure that they have a good knowledge of your company and the industry.
If you adhere to the steps outlined above, you will be able to find the right board members for your organization. However, it’s important to note that choosing board members is only half of the battle. The next step is to ensure that the board members stay on task and aren’t taking any shortcuts.
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