Why undergo board development? Perhaps never in living memory, has the need to have a world class board been more important. Companies that survived the financial crisis more than a decade ago, have withered and died. Perhaps with a more robust board, they may have survived, if not necessarily thrived.

Sheridan and Kendal research shows the number one reason for company failure, is a poorly structured board and poorly trained board.

I would suspect this isn’t a surprise to any reader but if you recognise your board isn’t as effective as it could be, the more pressing question is, what are you going to do address it?

Over my career of 30 plus years, I have sat on multiple boards and I have seen first-hand the good, the bad and the well frankly, desperately ugly. These experiences have taught me to quickly spot those dangerous fires bubbling away, before they become explosive. There is a saying we use in our business: change the people or change the people.

I would suggest that now is the time to pause the board evolution process and press the revolution button. Are your fellow board members, the right people for the need to future proof your company? If not, can you provide them with the skills to change your destiny, or do we need to consider a culling?! Painful, very painful if it’s the latter option, particularly so if these colleagues are long standing, or worse still family.

The lack of IT skills at board level, is terrifyingly low. It’s also become very obvious indeed, that crisis management and risk management skills, are also in a severe shortage. As all businesses have a much greater online presence than ever before, media management skills are often at best poor, and more usually non-existent.

Sadly, even that most important of skills, financial acumen is by and large well below par. Without beating about the bush, if your board members can’t read their, or indeed anyone else’s accounts, they really shouldn’t be sat at the table.

Of course, world class directors’ financial skills should be more than that of simple financial analysis. Do you have an understanding of the basics, of the complex world of mergers and acquisitions? Can you speak this challenging language of these players? Some of whom are the scariest sharks in the ocean.

Finally, in an increasingly growing and diverse marketplace, do you understand the funding market sufficiently well, to know where to start this journey?

Being world class is something we should all aspire to, but it’s now more important than ever, that we board members take control of our own destiny by taking swift action for change.

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