Organisations should review their criteria for recruiting and appraising board directors, according to the head of a leading management school.
At a conference hosted by Roffey Park on the dynamics and effectiveness of UK boardrooms, John Gilkes, chief executive of Roffey Park, said: “Some organisations put more effort into recruiting graduates than board members.”
He said: “The challenge [for organisations] is to develop a cohesive team at the top that is strong enough to withstand domination from any one powerful individual.”
To improve board effectiveness, new board members should have the ability to challenge, a ‘can do, will do’ attitude, technical expertise and an affinity with the organisation’s culture and values, he said.
The conference also highlighted that boards should foster a culture of open debate, using resistance as an opportunity to learn. ÒBoard members have a duty to challenge each other constructively,” said Gilkes.
“Dissent on the board is important, otherwise over-assertive individuals can dominate the proceedings. This culture of openness at board level can then be cascaded down, resulting in a more effective and productive organisation.”