A board member who is successful is one who takes their job seriously and contributes in an effective manner. They must be able to make difficult decisions, to think strategically and to keep the bigger picture in their mind, while giving their unique perspective based upon their personal experience. A strong board will assist the organization in achieving its goals and objectives by providing guidance and supervision. They will be driven to see the organization thrive and will not be afraid to share their opinions.
While having a large number of connections is essential for organizations but they must also concentrate on recruiting people who are dedicated to the cause and willing to invest their time. It is also crucial to ensure that your board members have the right capabilities. According to Institutional Shareholder Services the boards of Enron and Kmart and the ailing retailer Warnaco had a range of financial capabilities and expertise. They included former Stanford deans and accounting professors as well as a prominent Asian financier and the former head of the U.S. Government’s Commodity Futures Trading Commission. However these credentials were not enough to keep the businesses from falling.
Likewise, regular attendance at meetings is often regarded as a sign of conscientious board members. But as Stanford GSB adjunct professor of corporate governance Nell Minow points out, this measure alone doesn’t distinguish the boards that are good or bad. Attendance records for the boards of GE and WorldCom (which were both featured on Fortune’s list of 2001’s most popular companies) are similar.