Updated: Sep 30, 2021
One of the fastest emerging issues we see around Australia is that of Board renewal. For most organisations, gone are the days of having more people standing for election to the Board than positions available, not to mention the need to ensure the board can cope with the multitude of issues they might face.
We are finding that it is increasingly important for Boards to take responsibility for their own renewal and we are seeing many boards moving to a self-perpetuating board membership. This means that whilst they may still have a company or association membership doing the actual election of board members, in many cases the boards are now having to identify and even approach board members to stand for these elections, rather than just relying on people coming forward.
A danger in the self perpetuating board is that they just end up being a collection of friends who all think the same, have the same professional background or the same demographic (cultural, gender, age range etc.) As a result the benefit of a broad based board who can use diverse views to reach decisions is lost.
One of the simple tools we have used in looking for the needs of a board and its membership is a Board Skills Matrix. Very simply it is a table with the names of all the board members across the top, their age and gender; down the side is a list of the skills or attributes required in the board. Each board member then marks their areas of competence. The board can then look at its average age, gender mix, skills gaps or overloads to assist in determining its needs from new board members going forward.
Doing this analysis can bring real clarity to the task of identifying what the Board needs to be looking for in the board or perhaps where it needs more assistance.