One area of concern for many boards, especially when they are recruiting candidates for director positions is the composition the board. Some want to ensure that they have a lawyer and accountant on the board and others are totally opposed.
Opinion is divided on the best composition for a board. One school of thought advocates for a mix of people who have the skill and knowledge set to help the board address legal matters, financial matters, fundraising, ethics, professional knowledge and background related to the specific services provided by the organization.
The other dominant school of thought advocates for board composition to consist of those people who have the knowledge, skills and networks that will assist the board in helping the organization to meet its needs going forward.
Bylaws and policies are being changed to allow boards to move away from the concepts of representation of interest groups or geography and to enable recruitment and election of people best suited to helping the board to govern effectively.
It is important to remember that that the board’s job is to act in the best interests of the organization and those it exists to serve. This means that all directors are required to put personal interests aside and give serious consideration to the needs, interests, expectations, of all stakeholders. They are also obligated to explore options to proposed decisions and to ensure that they are knowledgeable about and understand the consequences of any decision they are about to make or action they are about to take. If the board needs legal or accounting guidance, there are many lawyers and accountants in communities who are quite willing to volunteer to assist a board with advice or guidance in their area of professional expertise. Many prefer this as it does not require a major commitment of time and energy.
Our view is that a board should be made up of people who have an interest in supporting the work of the organization; have demonstrated that they are team players; are capable of thinking and problem solving; are good communicators; and can add value to the organization in moving forward to achieve the organization’s mission, vision and strategic goals.
Courtesy of Vince Battistelli