Have You Researched the DNA of Your Board?
Board turnover doesn’t always mean that the board evolves or changes. Slow replacement of directors can mean that the “old” culture of the group, get rooted and, well … stuck in the DNA of the board as a whole.
By Kevin Smith
Wait! … Before you @ me, I’m not talking about individual board members, or anything resembling violations of privacy, et cetera. Don’t go calling HR on me! I’m talking about the board in its corpus, as a whole, as it were.
Picture the scene:
Facilitator (to the nine board members in the room): “Tell me how your board has evolved over the years. I see a lot of boards that are still focused down in the weeds of operations instead of at the strategic horizon. How’s your board?”
Board Chair: “Oh, well, we’ve evolved a lot and come a long way. We’ve got two new board members, and they’re young Millenials. As a matter of fact, we can say that our board has changed over completely from the original members in the last 20 years. With our merger of five years ago we also incorporated two board members from the merged credit union.”
Facilitator: “That sounds great. So, I see your board has a credit committee and a delinquency committee. Those seem a bit too operational to me. What’s the thinking on those? How do you keep those strategic?”
Board Chair: “I thought those were required. We’ve always had them. They help keep us informed of how things are going.”
The correct translation of that last phrase is, “Because that’s the way we’ve always done it.”