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A board of directors plays an essential role in any organization. Without it, companies would struggle to stay on a mission or on brand, while nonprofits would probably cease to exist.
If you are ever asked to serve on a board of directors, it’s important to understand the important role you will play — and to take it seriously. These groups bring an advanced set of skills and expertise to the organization and will help you navigate a constantly changing, and sometimes turbulent environment.
Related to Serving on a Board of Directors:
At the same time, the members of a board of directors help to set the strategic direction for the organization, ensuring that it has success well into the future and that it continues to support and serve its client or customer base.
To ensure they are performing their duties to the best of their abilities, here are 3 tips that all members of a board should keep in mind, according to Basil Mahadeo, Director, at Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry.
On a board, it’s important to have clear and open lines of communication not only between all members of the board but also between the board and the organization’s leadership. This will ensure that you are working together and that you are working to move the organization in the right direction.
Facilitating this communication can often be difficult, especially when the members of the board are busy, and the board may not be their first and only responsibility. Having multiple lines of communication — virtual and in-person — can help ensure that each member and leadership are better able to stay connected.
Organizations do not exist in a bubble, and neither does their board. Whether you are serving on the board of a corporation or a nonprofit, it’s important to be aware of what is happening in the world and how it can potentially impact your organization and your mission.
For example, according to the latest PwC Annual Corporate Directors Survey, 67% of board members surveyed said that climate change should have a role in strategy formation, while 34% say racial and ethnic diversity is very important to have on their board. These findings are driven and influenced by how the base of customers or clients these boards serve are seeing the world and what they see as important.
Although you may not be a day-to-day employee of the organization, as a member of their board you are an ambassador for the organization. That means you need to be prepared to act as such.
For most board members, that means you should have an understanding of what is happening within the organization and are equipped to discuss it should you be called upon. You can prep yourself for any potential discussion by thinking about what questions might arise about the organization and discussing them in your next board meeting.
Being on a board can be both an honor and a privilege, but it also works. You need to put your best foot forward every day so you can help the organization you have been asked to serve as much as possible.
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