Monday, February 25, 2013

Selecting A New Board Member?

What To – and NOT To – Look for in a Board Director

It is easy to say that the biggest secret to an effective board is having a team of effective board members. But, what exactly makes a "good" board member? What are the traits that you should look for in new directors?

PSMJ recently caught up with Orrin MacMurray, Chairman of 500-person multi-disciplinary firm C&S Companies (Syracuse, NY) and asked this very question. Here's what Orrin shared on what his team looks for in a director:

• Alignment with corporate values
• Strategic insight and vision
• Loyalty to the company and shareholders
• Leadership by example with a strong work ethic
• Accounting and finance knowledge and experience
• Proven sound business judgment
• Experience dealing with continual change
• A cool head

To the contrary, our consulting team at PSMJ often sees boards that are dysfunctional or suboptimal because A/E firms are relying heavily on some or all of the following potentially destructive criteria to build their board:

• Ownership interest
• Firm tenure
• Loyalty/relationship to the CEO
• Willingness to say "yes" to anything
• Just to make a retired partner still "feel" important

What's your evaluation criteria for selecting board members? What are you doing to ensure that your board isn't simply a "good 'ol boys club?" The time is now to make sure that your board is an effective and valued part of the organization!

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