A dysfunctional board means a dysfunctional business


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Presentation by David Doughty, Chartered Director at Is your board Fit for Business, Foot Anstey, Bristol on 22 May 2013

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A dysfunctional board means a dysfunctional business

  1. 1. A dysfunctional board means adysfunctional businessDavid DoughtyChartered Director, Chief Executive atExcellenciaIs your board fit for business?Wednesday 22 May 2013100 Victoria StreetBristol
  2. 2. Is your board dysfunctional?• Board members are aware of what is expected ofthem• The agenda of Board meetings is well planned sothat we are able to get through all necessaryBoard business• It seems that most Board members come tomeetings prepared• We receive written reports to the Board inadvance of our meetings• All Board members participate in importantBoard discussions
  3. 3. Is your board dysfunctional?• We do a good job encouraging and dealingwith different points of view• We all support the decisions we make• The Board has a plan for the education andfurther development of Board members• Our Board meetings are always interesting• Our Board meetings are frequently fun
  4. 4. From dysfunctional to functional
  5. 5. From dysfunctional to functionalThe Dysfunctional BoardIf there is an absence of trust, Board Members:• Conceal their weaknesses and mistakes fromone another• Hesitate to ask for help or provideconstructive feedback• Hesitate to offer help outside their own areasof responsibility• Jump to conclusions about the intentionsand aptitudes of others without attemptingto clarify them• Fail to recognize and tap into one another’sskills and experiences• Waste time and energy managing theirbehaviours for effect• Hold grudges• Dread meetings and find reasons to avoidspending time togetherThe Functional BoardIf there is a foundation of trust, Board Members:• Admit weaknesses and mistakes• Ask for help• Accept questions and input about their areasof responsibility• Give one another the benefit of the doubtbefore arriving at a negative conclusion• Take risks in offering feedback and assistance• Appreciate and tap into one another’s skillsand experiences• Focus time and energy on importantissues, not politics• Offer and accept apologies withouthesitation• Look forward to meetings and otheropportunities to work as a groupTrust
  6. 6. From dysfunctional to functionalThe Dysfunctional BoardIf there is a fear conflict,Board Members:• Have boring meetings• Create environments where back-channel politics and personalattacks thrive• Ignore controversial topics thatare critical to team success• Fail to tap into all the opinionsand perspectives of teammembers• Waste time and energy withposturing and interpersonal riskmanagementThe Functional BoardIf there is engagement with conflict,Board Members:• Have lively, interesting meetings• Extract and exploit the ideas of allteam members• Solve real problems quickly• Minimize politics• Put critical topics on the table fordiscussionConflict
  7. 7. From dysfunctional to functionalThe Dysfunctional BoardA board that fails to commit:• Creates ambiguity among theboard about direction andpriorities• Watches windows of opportunityclose due to excessive analysisand unnecessary delay• Breeds lack of confidence andfear of failure• Revisits discussions and decisionsagain and again• Encourages second-guessingamong board membersThe Functional BoardA board that commits:• Creates clarity around direction andpriorities• Aligns the entire board aroundcommon objectives• Develops an ability to learn frommistakes• Takes advantage of opportunitiesbefore competitors do• Moves forward without hesitation• Changes direction withouthesitation or guiltCommitment
  8. 8. From dysfunctional to functionalThe Dysfunctional BoardA board that avoidsaccountability:• Creates resentment amongboard members who havedifferent standards ofperformance• Encourages mediocrity• Misses deadlines and keydeliverables• Places an undue burden onthe Chair as the sole source ofdisciplineThe Functional BoardA board whose members hold eachother accountable:• Ensures that poor performers feelpressure to improve• Identifies potential problemsquickly by questioning oneanother’s approaches withouthesitation• Establishes respect among boardmembers who are held to the samehigh standards• Avoids excessive bureaucracyaround performance managementand corrective actionAccountability
  9. 9. From dysfunctional to functionalThe Dysfunctional BoardIf the board is not focused on results, theorganisation:• Stagnates/fails to grow• Rarely defeats competitors• Loses achievement-orientedemployees• Encourages board members to focuson their own careers and individualgoals• Is easily distractedThe Functional BoardIf the board is focused on collectiveresults, the organisation:• Retains achievement-orientedemployees• Minimizes individualistic behaviour• Enjoys success and suffers failureacutely• Benefits from individuals whosubjugate their own goals/interestsfor the good of the board• Avoids distractionsResults
  10. 10. The four key tasks of the boardEstablish andmaintain vision,mission andvaluesDecide strategyand structureDelegate tomanagementAccount toshareholders andbe responsible tostakeholdersThe fourkey tasks ofthe boardA dysfunctional board means a dysfunctional business
  11. 11. Is your board fit for business?Wednesday 22 May 2013100 Victoria StreetBristol