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Competency Based Board of Directors

Posted By ESA Communications , Monday, March 28, 2016

Many businesses have a board of directors. Your business may even have a board in place to help steer the strategic direction of your organization. Board members are typically charged with making high-level, strategic decisions for the organizations they serve. These are often very important decisions that set the course of the business. Examples of the type of decisions and role of board members include financial decisions like securing additional lines of credit for acquisitions or improved cash flow, evaluating new market or product/service expansions for the business, establishing policies and overseeing the management of the business to ensure the strategic objectives are being met.

With so much responsibility, board members need to possess the knowledge, skills and abilities to make the best decisions for the business. Therefore, carefully choosing board members is imperative to the success of the organization. Experts often focus on the competencies of candidates when working with businesses as they recruit new board members. 

Every organization has a different set of needs that evolve over time as the business grows and changes. As such, the knowledge and skills of board members too should also evolve to best serve the current conditions and strategic goals of the company. The skill set of board members should complement the skills possessed by the management of the organization so that all aligned and working towards the same objectives.

If your business has a board in place, think about the skill set of those that serve. Are there any gaps in areas that you need to improve in your business? As board members move off the board be sure to evaluate the skills that would take your business to the next level by replacing board members with targeted candidates that would fill those gaps and bring new knowledge to your organization. For example, if you want to grow your business through acquisitions you should have a savvy financial expert on your board to ensure you make sound investments and that you are structuring the acquisitions properly for your business. Are you considering adding a DIY division to your business? Ensure you have someone with consumer marketing expertise to help lead that effort and evaluate the best way to enter that space.

In conclusion, boards made of individuals that possess specific expertise relevant to the businesses they serve are much more effective than those that are populated with friends or because they were the next in line. The composition of the board of directors for every organization is extremely important. It can mean the difference between a well-run organization or a world-class organization that exceeds all expectations. 

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