From rubber stamp to strategy asset
Do you mine the collective intelligence of your board? In today’s world, corporations are establishing processes that have an emphasis on collective wisdom for competitive advantage. This concept can be actualized at the board level through the board evaluation process.
A recent study by PwC found that 63 percent of directors believe self-evaluations are mostly a “check the box” exercise. This belief may be rooted in the fact that NYSE listed companies are required to conduct evaluations on an annual basis. (See NYSE Rule 303A.09; NASDAQ does not require an annual evaluation)
That means that a significant number of boards may be missing out on a valuable opportunity to identify issues with and improve on various board functions. A progressive board uses the evaluation process for high-level thinking in a structured, organized manner. This big picture thinking combined with an action plan moves the needle on board performance and helps to lay a foundation for continues improvement.
After some of the more elemental issues that surface or tensions that arise through board evaluation are addressed, a board begins to see how strategic it is, overall. Board composition comes into sharper focus as well as director education needs. Moreover, there can be clarification of how and where improvement for strategic thinking arises. In other words, forward thinking is a result of board evaluation.
This progression also involves management and management’s ability – or willingness – to tap into the board’s expertise. Board evaluation, done well, strongly undercuts the idea that boards are just rubber- stamping what management wants.