Board Member

What is a Board Member?

A Board member is an elected participant on the board of directors of a corporation or the supervisory committee of an organization. The board of directors of a company is defined as the governing body that is tasked with decisions pertaining to the company’s heading. The key decisions for the business body as a whole come from the consensus of the Board.

What Does Board Member Mean?

What is the definition of board member? Board members are elected by the shareholders of the company and are responsible to set the company vision and appoint the chief officers to carry out that vision. Each member of the board participates in board meetings wherein the discussions of performance, critical roadblocks, turnarounds, and future strategy take place. In other words, they are responsible for the global direction of the company.

Each member is required to know his vertical (scope of business) along with its issues and challenges. He is also responsible to bring up any problems with his segments of the business to other members, so they can discuss a solution. All the members brainstorm on a solution and bring it to a vote. If a majority of the members can agree on the solution, the conclusion becomes an operative guideline and an essential component of the company’s strategy going forward.

What are a Board Member’s Responsibilities?

As a whole, the board of directors bears a legal responsibility to govern a corporation. Fulfilling that responsibility encompasses many individual roles and responsibilities. Each board member brings different strengths, talents, and abilities to the board. When board members merge their skills toward the mission and vision of an organization, it creates a synergy that makes the whole board greater than the sum of each individual’s contribution. Serving on a board requires time and dedication.

Effective board members possess solid character traits and personal integrity. They are active members who have tolerance of differing viewpoints and can communicate honesty with sensitivity. Board members should be amiable, responsive, and patient.

Main responsibilities of Board member are:

  • establishing the organization’s mission and purpose;
  • executive director-selecting, supporting, reviewing;
  • organizational planning;
  • monitoring and managing financial resources;
  • assessing and developing skills;
  • serve on committees;
  • recruiting new board members;
  • maintaining integrity.

How to Be a Good Board Member

Before the meeting:

  1. Read the materials in advance
  2. Speak with the CEO before the board meeting
  3. Read the tea leaves on CEO / Founder psychology
  4. Have calls or emails with other board members before the board meeting
  5. Be thoughtful about time management before the meeting starts

During the meeting:

  1. Put your electronics away and be present
  2. Understand the role of listener, enquirer & sparring partner
  3. Avoid micro-management of non-essential items
  4. Push for others to speak
  5. Don’t audition for smartest person in the room

Outside of the meeting:

  1. Understand that most of the value comes outside of the boardroom
  2. Build strong relationships with board members, stakeholders and key investors
  3. Help the executive team to prioritize and execute
  4. Get to know the broader management team
  5. Know when to be proactive