Effective board management requires directors to be committed to their responsibilities and commit to the process, and work to keep improving. It also demands a strong infrastructure for support that allows the board to do its best and enhances the work of the board members and management team. This includes the governance systems, processes and tools for meeting planning, materials creation in the portal, logistics management, and materials creation.
The most effective boards are distinguished by a rigorous ongoing examination of the most important, mission-critical drivers as well as opportunities and risks, and an emphasis on key stakeholder involvement. This involves requesting reports about suppliers, customers, and other key stakeholder behaviours and trends as well as opportunities and headwinds in the economy. It also means getting out in the field to observe how the company functions and bringing those insights back for discussion with the board.
Most important to this pillar is the basic trust and respect that has to be maintained between board members to enable quality discussion and debate, including difficult questions and perspectives. It is also essential to create an environment in which it is accepted and expected that the board can disagree with management.
The ability of the board to do its job depends on quality and accessibility of the information. Boards that are successful effectively make decisions through the use of an information infrastructure that is compatible with the board’s mission and engagement model as well as its vision for excellence. This includes an explicit authority matrix (sometimes called a RACI map) that clearly identifies which individuals and groups are responsible for, accountable to consulting on or being informed on specific subjects and when their roles and responsibilities are fulfilled.