Board Succession - How to Build and Renew Strength
Board succession is a process which takes time, planning, financial resources and, in some cases, transformative culture change. Board succession planning is an opportunity to critically review governance and leadership at board level.
To attract experienced and well-educated people to your board, and especially if you want to attract diverse perspectives (e.g. race, gender, age), first you must check how your governance culture and governance standards are equipped to welcome and engage these people.
The process provides an opportunity to succeed yourself. We discuss this in Part 1 of the accompanying book, Building and Renewing Strength on Club Boards; your personal readiness and making an agreement with yourself. Learning about your value and the true value of other directors on your board.
This naturally progresses into looking at the moments of truth in the boardroom in Part 2 of Building and Renewing Strength on Club Boards; the board meeting is where the consistency and quality of your governance tools and training mixed with your value and other directors’ value to the board come to the fore.
With the groundwork laid, the excitement of board recruitment in action is covered in Part 3. Events, marketing, and networking are shaped by the culture of your board and your strategy. It’s time to open the doors of your club to interested members and people from the community.
After the elections; induction and training become paramount for your new director or directors. It’s what we cover in Part 4.
The final part, Part 5, is the Integrated Governance framework for board succession. It summarises almost everything in the book into a 12-month program.
There is a tendency for boards whose members are elected rather than appointed to be somewhat fatalistic about succession planning. It’s regarded as a waste of time because matters appear beyond their influence. Succession planning is perhaps even more important when boards are elected and directors need to show excellent leadership and faith in new perspectives in the board succession process. In clubs where elections tend to be a popularity contest it is easy to end up with a board that lacks the wherewithal to be fit for 2020.
A final word in this introduction.
The best motive for board succession is bringing together a group of competent individuals who can make informed decisions in the best interest of the company.
The first question we must ask is, what is the board for?
If we’re not ‘switched on’, if we are using the same thoughts and feelings from a decade ago or even the 20th century, then we might not know poor governance culture is happening right here and now, but we can see the effects clearly afterwards… and that can be embarrassing and very costly. Some of us may have even felt the effects of poor governance.
Poor governance can feel like a dangerous, illegal, and stuck boardroom. Our boardroom should feel safe, lawful, and innovative.
So, let’s ask that question again… What is the board for?
The board are there to make informed decisions on behalf of the company.
Informed decisions can only be made by considering the matter from several perspectives.
The next question following on from this is, what am I on the board for?
Looking at the slide show above, we have our club.
Often when we think about board succession planning, we look out into the world… into our community… and think about how to get those people, those mysterious young… different people to be interested in our board.
But most of us need members to nominate. Sometimes special members. Sub branch… bowlers…
To get the community and the members to be anywhere near interested we need to engage with those people – community and members.
How do we engage? That’s Part 3 in the book.
As we move through Part 1, which is about you, think about what attracts people to you?
People are attracted to success, to energy. Vision. Achievement. Ethics. People are attracted to people and places where they feel valued and heard.
To create an environment where this can happen… we need to create a boardroom that is a safe, lawful, and innovative space. What do we mean when we say a ‘safe’ boardroom. We will find out in Part 2.
Broadly, we will need to do work on our… governance culture.
This is the quality of the four principal tasks of the board. It’s about the quality of your Chairperson, and your CEO.
Now we’re getting closer to the centre… the big reveal. But before we get there, we must get the team on board… so to speak. Board succession needs the board and CEO pulling together… you don’t need consensus; a majority vote is fine.
But to be the change we want to see, to be the change we seek, that starts with… me.
Download the book, Building and Renewing Strength on Club Boards.
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