A new year is a good time to make commitments to improving governance. Research by Compass Partnership, of which I am director, and Cass Business School into the drivers of effective governance suggests that the following five topics will bring the greatest reward for the effort put into strengthening your board.
Ensure the board works as a team, giving respect to different viewpoints, reading the emotional intelligence in the room and taking collective responsibility for decisions.
Strive to have high-quality meetings, with short, high-quality papers and strategic discussions that lead to clear decisions.
Refresh the board with people who fill carefully considered skill and experience gaps and who will meet the future demands on the board.
Strive to increase openness and trust between trustees and between board and management, praising achievements and providing robust but courteous challenge when needed.
Regularly review board and individual performance to ensure the organisation gets the best from its trustees and can deal with poor performance.