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How Corporate Boards Can Improve Their Effectiveness

The Board service is a wonderful opportunity to step away from your day-to-day business role and improve your ability to see an organisation as the whole, not only the functional areas you’ve been in charge of in the past. You will also be exposed to a broader range of issues and problems that businesses face. For instance, you could be faced with difficult decisions that have a negative impact on people, such as deciding on redundancies, or closing an office. These situations teach you how to think objectively and not be swayed either by your own feelings or the feelings of your colleagues.

Another issue that arises is how to ensure that a diverse range of voices are heard during deliberations as well as in the decision-making process. There are several ways boards can achieve this. For example some boards allow directors to play devil’s advocate at meetings. Other boards employ a whiteboard approach to brainstorm ideas and “spitball” possible solutions prior to making an important decision. This removes the decision-making process from the individual’s perspective and can assist in avoiding groupthink.

Boards can improve their effectiveness when they are willing to challenge the long-standing norms. Many board members, for instance are looking at the committee structures. They question whether they are serving their function and are an efficient method to conduct meetings. They are looking for new ways to identify patterns and insights hidden in digital and data tools.


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