A board member who is successful takes their responsibilities seriously and makes a significant contribution. They need to be able to take difficult decisions, to think strategically and keep the bigger picture in mind, all while providing their own perspective based on their own personal experience. A competent board of directors will help the company achieve its goals and objectives by providing direction and oversight. They will be motivated to see the organization flourish and will not be afraid to voice their opinions.
While having a large number of connections is important for organizations however, they should also focus on recruiting people who are devoted to the cause and willing to give their time. It is also essential to ensure that your board members have the necessary capabilities. According to Institutional Shareholder Services the boards of Enron and Kmart and the struggling retailer Warnaco had a variety of financial competencies and expertise. They included former Stanford deans and accounting professors, as well as a prominent Asian financier and the former head the U.S. Government’s Commodity Futures Trading Commission. However these credentials weren’t enough to stop the firms from falling.
In the same way regular attendance at meetings is frequently regarded as a sign of conscientious board members. As Stanford GSB adjunct faculty of corporate governance Nell Minow explains, this measure doesn’t distinguish between boards that are good and bad. Attendance records for the boards at GE and WorldCom (which were both listed on Fortune’s list of 2001’s most popular companies) are similar.