Consider the nature of engagement between directors and executive teams as a means of boosting board effectiveness.
McKinsey Quarterly, April 2015
A recent article in the McKinsey Quarterly considers the nature of engagement between directors and executive teams as a means of boosting board effectiveness. It describes this as a further dimension of board effectiveness in addition to the findings of McKinsey research from 2014 (that the distinction between higher and lower impact boards turns on the breadth of issues directors tackle and the time dedicated to them).
From McKinsey’s discussions with board members and executives, five suggestions emerged as to how boards can improve engagement with executive teams:
(i) engage between meetings to “strengthen a board’s hand on the company’s pulse” and to reduce background time in regular board meetings. This also provides an opportunity for board members to inform executive teams of issues that “they’re seeing on the horizon”;
(ii) engage in strategy development, as opposed to reviewing strategy that has been fully developed by executives. This shifts the board’s attitude from “reactive to proactive”, and enables directors to add significant value by drawing on their diverse experiences and pattern-recognition skills;
(iii) engage further on talent cultivation. As part of their responsibility for selecting and replacing CEOs, some boards are moving from observing talent to actively cultivating it (such as mentoring high-performing executives).
(iv) assign individual directors specific operational areas or company initiatives to engage on; and
(v) engage on tough or uncomfortable questions in relation to a wide range of issues, and “connect the dots” between issues.
Already a member?
Login to view this content