Series Volume #8: Board Member Evaluation & Selection
You have stuck with it and followed Series 1 through 7 of this newsletter in your quest to build the ideal board for your company... or to evaluate your existing board and implement needed improvements. You have built your 'Sphere of Influence' model (newsletter Series #5), evaluated the importance of your 'Planes of Congruence' considerations (newsletter Series #6) and now understand the Available Options & Services to Build Your Board Team (newsletter Series #7). Now for the frequently overlooked part...
Proper Board Member Evaluation and Selection
Your Board will be the most important team that you construct for your business - that is why the right selection criteria is important. Above and beyond the criteria of the Sphere of Influence (expertise and experience) and the Planes of Congruence (balance across the team), it is important to evaluate the personality, demeanor and leadership approach of every potential Board member both individually and collectively. They must be a fit in all areas. Don't settle for anything less. Above and beyond the normal evaluation criteria that would be covered in standard interview processes, an important additional area of evaluation for senior levels, especially Board positions, includes EQ...
IQ vs. EQ
In his 1996 book Emotional Intelligence, author Daniel Goleman suggested that EQ, or emotional intelligence quotient, might actually be more important than IQ (intelligence quotient).
EQ refers to a person's ability to perceive, control, evaluate and express emotions
I believe that a mature balance of all of these traits are necessary for an effective Board member. After all, what good is someone's experience and expertise if they don't have the diplomacy or presence to work within a team atmosphere or read social cues from other Board members. We have all seen the highly intelligent 'expert' that no one wants to hang out with. Don't do this to yourself. Don't do this to your Board. Don't do this to your company. Fortunately, there are online tools available to help you more deeply evaluate these areas by leveraging 'big data' to evaluate successful leaders in specific verticals as well as team-conducive personalities. These tools have eliminated many false starts in my executive placements and Board builds. They have also given incredible insight in areas that interviews simply cannot uncover. Two online tools for the do-it-yourselfer are:
Gordon Personal Profile - Inventory (GPP-I): Discover how a candidate might fit into your organization by assessing nine universal traits.
Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal (WGCTA): Measure the ability of a candidate to think critically and problem solve.
For evaluation of the all-important team dynamic of existing boards (or when replacing Board members), there is the TQ, or team intelligence quotient, concept pioneered by Dr. Solange Charas. Her Ph.D. research focused on new approaches to select, develop and manage passionate high-performing interdisciplinary teams at the Board and C-suite level and measure their impact on corporate financial performance. In The Handbook of Board Governance: A Comprehensive Guide For Public, Private, and Not-For-Profit Board Members, Dr. Charas is quoted as saying regarding her detailed research, "TQ in the boardroom emerged as a reliable predictor of firm performance. The implications are that enhancing team intelligence in the boardroom is key to economic value creation. Organizations with high-TQ boards consistently outperformed their competitors on profitability performance, and organizations with low-TQ boards consistently underperformed on profitability." Her research led to the development of new proprietary data-based assessment tools that can identify and coach for the appropriate behavioral characteristics to include in a new or existing team for optimal performance and ultimately, success.
What will you consider when building or evaluating your Board?
Continue to read our ongoing series on the important focus areas you need to be thinking about in order to build or evaluate an effective Board for your company. Our upcoming Series #9 newsletter will focus on The Importance of Board Committees. Also, see the previous newsletter series 1 through 7 here.
by Mark A. Pfister, Chairman & CEO, Integral Board Group
About the Author: In addition to sitting on numerous boards, Mark A. Pfister advises public, private and non-profit boards in efficient and effective operations. He is the inventor of the 'Board as a Service' (BaaS) engagement model and an expert project/program manager frequently consulting on strategic global initiatives in their initiation phases as well as programs that require remedial focus to bring them back on track. Mark holds a Professional Director Certification through the American College of Corporate Directors (ACCD).
Have Mark join you with his 2017 National Speaking Tour 'Building an Effective Board For Your Company' as he shows business owners and leaders the immense value of creating an experienced 'go-to' team.