How a new board member can immediately contribute

New Board member contributes– Talent4Boards Inc. –  How a new board member can immediately contribute

More than ever, there are more and more new directors in the boardrooms. NACD said in a recent note that “77% of all newly appointed public company directors are serving on their first public company board“.

Although this influx of new talent brings a broader diversity of experience, it implies a growing need for an effective onboarding program within the board, including, if necessary, upfront training.

Some recommendations must be considered in the general context of the appointments of new Independent Directors, particularly for their very first Board of Directors.

Great Boards are well balanced, well-composed but also well chaired. The Chairperson is at the helm of the Board and gives momentum to the work of the Board.

“The composition of a Board of Directors is always indicative of the personality of its Chair, while the choice of the Chairperson is indicative of the Board’s ambition,” said Olivier Dellacherie, Executive Chairman, Talent4Boards Inc.

Much of the overall contribution of Board members will rely on how Board meetings are prepared, documented, and conducted, as well as on the scope of the topics and how they are addressed.

As an independent Board Member, you must have a high level of vision. Within the Board, you are neither an Executive nor an Investor. Some of them are already on the board, so let them manage their own agenda to focus solely on the Company’s interests – a Company is a legal entity that has neither voice nor voting power, apart from those of its independent non-executive directors who speak and act on its behalf within the Board. –

As such, your duties, given your experience and competencies, are to challenge the choices made by the executive committee and ensure the consistency of the strategy, review the level of available resources and their allocation (finance, HR, IP…), monitor conflicts of interest as well as potential collisions from the executive team.

If you are sitting on a Board committee, if any, you should review in detail some specific aspects of Corporate Governance (Audit, Nomination, Compensation…) and report them to the Board.

That seems quite simple as explained above but depends a lot on how the group works because a board of directors is basically a group of people – albeit of a high level – who have to work together for only a few hours at each Board/Committee meeting. Board meetings are therefore often very intense, and a new Board member must quickly find the right tuning to be able to contribute to the Board as soon as possible.

One important consideration for a new Board appointee is to require an onboarding program so that he or she is briefed on all ongoing board work before the appointment, understands the strategy involved, understands the markets, meets and gets to know key executives, and finally visits the most important facilities if necessary.

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