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Planning the ideal composition of your Board

15 Oct 2014

Each organisation has different requirements for an effective board composition on which to base the selection and appointment of new board members. Also to be considered is that the replacement of long-standing board members risks the loss of key skills and leadership which needs careful planning during the selection of new board members.

When reviewing your board make up, rather than focus purely on current needs of the organisation, consider what future skills your board will need for its planned growth, expansion and any potential threats such as the loss of a major contract or government legislation change for example. Approaching an experienced person in the area of future need before that need arises is a sound move to prepare your board for the future.

Review Process

Firstly, consider the size of the Board that will provide the maximum efficiency and effectiveness plus a balance of skills and experience needed to achieve the optimum performance of the Board.

Then review the expertise and balance needed for your sector operations on your board.

Now you have formed a list of desired skill sets against which you can identify existing experience and skills of the current board, and define the gaps that require filling. These can be prioritised in importance and value so that you can approach appropriate people with a combination of skills and experience to provide these missing attributes.

Check that you have allowed for a sound balance of internal connected and external board members who can provide a depth of knowledge plus independent judgement along with outside experience and objectivity.

Post Review

After such a review, plan for the board to review its succession plans every three years with the objective of providing a diversity that gives a breadth of experience in fresh thinking to the undertaking of a Board’s tasks and responsibilities. At that time the board will be able to develop a plan for the staged replacement of existing board members to facilitate the transfer of institutional knowledge to the new board members over a period of time.

The effectiveness of the composition and succession plan can be reviewed against the success of the board in providing the organisation with dynamic leadership, giving it sound strategic direction, and that enables the board to function as a top level board for the most effective way for the benefit of the organisation.

Eric Livingstone

Tags: Boards, Charitable Trusts Pre-Schools and Societies, Governance, Mature and Established Companies, New and Growing Businesses

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