Sunday, May 15, 2011

Qualities of Board of Director Members

As a growing company, establishing a well rounded Board of Directors is an important step towards your emersion from startup phase into a full-fledged company. It’s not often thought about in the early stages, but finding qualified professionals who are outside of the day to day operations of your company who can add value can be a tricky task.

Trickiness aside, what makes for an ideal board of director member? Below are the qualities I look for in both forming boards for clients, or for boards I’m looking to join.


Being committed to the organization and the ideals it represents is an ideal quality. Even if the individual has great skills and potential, if the level of commitment and concern for the organization's well-being is low, the person might not be able to use these skills to the advantage of the organization. Commitment in terms of doing what they say they will do also counts, as empty promises on the part of a board member only weaken the decision-making powers of the group.


Members of the board should know the responsibilities that they are or will be holding. This role is not merely a position that can be taken lightly. A board of directors is the guiding force for the organization, and must ensure the goals are met, and initiative is a key to knowing what must be done next.


Biases are not beneficial to the organization and its members. Having a member of the board think about his own prejudices or biases cloud his judgment and ultimately weaken the decision-making process. Board members should put the welfare of the whole organization first. Open mindedness should play in this aspect, for there are a lot of ideas for the organization's advantage that are limited by being selfish and biased.


Having people in the board from only one expertise would be a very limiting factor. A board should have representation from various industries or schools of thought. Diversity among the board members paves the way for proper deliberation and decisions, from various points of view, but not necessarily to the point of total clashes.


Integrity plays a big part in how an individual member handles dilemmas and hard decisions that involve ethical reasoning. The board member must have a firm stand on things, and principles shouldn't be based on weak reasoning. The individual should choose to discipline what is to be disciplined, give credit to those who deserve it, and call black as black and white as white.

In Summary

There are no hard rules to choosing the members of the board, since organizations differ in goals, views and even structures. However, these simple qualities are important in making sure a board of directors can drive a company, foundation or any organization into success in its chosen field.

Chris Benjamin, Rogue CFO

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