When targeting potential independent directors for boards, it’s important to keep balance in mind.
You might think I’m talking about having a balance of skills and expertise. The most effective executives have created a unique balance in their lives.
High-performing boards are experienced, nimble, engaged, strategic and relevant. Multifunctional experience is necessary in the boardroom. So is balance for each board member.
How do top-performing senior executives allocate their time? Is it all about business decisions and strategy? No. Superior leaders build in time for the unexpected business challenges as well as intellectual growth, family, fun, fitness, faith, networking and volunteer work.
When assessing your board or evaluating your next director for your independent board, don’t be afraid to ask how they allocate their time and energy.
Why balance is important for a director
Why should a company think balance is important? Simply, to guard against burnout and lower business risk with board members who are healthy and focused with a positive mindset. Intentionality and consistency in living a balanced life are key differentiators of “good” versus “great” executives.
The best directors have developed and nurtured a group of trusted colleagues to provide discreet and unfiltered advice. Top performers attract similar performers. The broader the network, the more comprehensive the information and experience sharing.
The best board members consciously set aside time to increase and strengthen their networks, bringing transformative thinking and resources to support the CEO, strategy and overall success of an enterprise.
An executive who manages time well creates greater opportunity to develop and grow these relationships. The breadth and depth of a network correlates closely to personal net worth.
Independent board members, by the way, are unaffiliated with the company. They have no political agenda. They are not a personal friend of the owner or director and have no business relationship or family connection.
How valuable are your board members?
Sometimes the strength of your network equates to how many people each of your connections has helped along the way.When evaluating the personal characteristics and values of a prospective board member, it’s critical to identify their leadership style. The days of authoritarian leadership and autocratic business environment are gone.
A new era is upon us. The best leaders are those who understand servant leadership by carving out time to teach and mentor others. Great networks are built by serving others. Executives who are successful mentors and servant leaders have a great track record of performance in the boardroom.
If you want to be a member of a board, enhance your “boardroom brand” through a well-balanced life. Be disciplined in making time for personal relationships, health and wellness. Develop others and build a network of trusted colleagues and experts. Associate with the best. Give the most you can to those willing to grow, and honor your time and balance.
A board carries significant responsibility and accountability to the company’s stakeholders and shareholders. When qualifying prospective board members, don’t be afraid to probe deeper on balance, character, personal traits and philosophies. Of course, the executive’s business expertise is critical in filling a specific need in the boardroom. But these additional qualities will only enhance your board.
Recruiting well-balanced, well-connected, servant leaders will have a powerful impact, increase the productivity of your board and improve your overall business performance.