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The Savvy Director Blog

Welcome to The Savvy Director™ blog, a place to engage on board governance topics as you travel the path to being a savvy director. 

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Take Your Board to the LAKE

prepare for meetings Feb 14, 2021

The care and feeding of high performing board cultures has taken a hit these past months. This has been observed many times by any number of board directors in my network. I imagine you’ve heard the same comments.

Still, we should feel grateful for our near universal access to affordable virtual meeting software that makes it possible for us to meet in real time with actual faces in front of us and voices in our ears. Can you imagine the alternative experience if all those virtual...

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Getting the Most Out of Committees

The Savvy Director blog usually focuses on the director role as it relates to the board as a whole. But in the past few weeks, I’ve found myself spending far more time on my role as a committee member. And that’s not unusual.

With committee work on my mind, it seems like a good time to write about board committees.

I like to include quotations in these blog posts, so I did a quick Google search on ‘Quotes about Committees’. It pains me to say it, but apparently nobody...

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Larry in the Boardroom

ask great questions Jan 31, 2021

Image from Breakfast with Larry

Have you ever wondered what the late talk show host Larry King would have been like as a board director?

Let’s say the board was questioning the CEO, and that Larry had actually prepped for the board meeting. What kind of questions would he have asked?

Given that one of Larry’s favorite questions for authors was “Why the book?”, I imagine that his fellow directors might have heard him ask the CEO questions like:

  • “What happened...
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The Power of Catalytic Questions

ask great questions Jan 17, 2021

If you’ve been reading The Savvy Director blog for a while, then you know that, at DirectorPrep, we are obsessed with questions.

One reason for that is because asking questions helps us to fulfill our fiduciary duty as board directors. Through our questions, we inform ourselves about the subject matter at hand and satisfy ourselves about what is in the organization’s best interests.

Of equal importance, the right questions – asked in the right way at the right time –...

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Do You (And Your Board) Need a Boost?

A couple of days ago, DirectorPrep co-founder Alice Sayant shared with me that her car wouldn’t start. The battery had just enough juice for auxiliary power, but not enough to turn over the engine.

Now, in our part of the world (the Canadian Prairies), a dead car battery is a fairly common occurrence in the middle of a cold winter. But it hasn’t even been that cold (at least, not yet.) And not only is her car parked in the garage, but the block heater (click here if you’ve...

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Let's Get Logical

think independently Dec 13, 2020

Ever since I decided to write this blog post about logical fallacies in our boardroom debate, I’ve had this refrain going through my head. I’m hoping that by sharing it with you, I will finally be free …

“Let's get logical, logical,
I wanna get logical.
Let's get into logical.
Let me hear your logic talk, your logic talk.
Let me hear your logic talk.”

- with apologies to Olivia Newton John

But seriously, logical fallacies, which are flaws in the way we apply...

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What's in Your Offer?

Landing the board seat you want can be very competitive, even for the most seasoned corporate director. For the dedicated and experienced non-profit director, finding your way onto a board with influence on a cause that you care about can involve an opaque appointment process, especially if it’s controlled by government. And high-profile charities have a limited number of board seats that open up on an annual basis.

So, what can you do to set yourself apart from other well-qualified...

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Biases 'R' Us

think independently Nov 29, 2020

Let’s face it, a board director’s main job is to think – to think about finances, risks, strategy and people, and about all the other matters that come before a board of directors over the course of a governance year.

And while there is room around the board table for diverse thinking styles - analytical and strategic; people-focused, data-focused and process-focused; big picture thinkers and detailed thinkers; idealists, realists, and pragmatists; risk tolerant and risk...

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More Music, Less News

Every edition of The Savvy Director works to connect you with some of the latest resources and thought leaders to stimulate your thinking and governance skills in becoming the most effective board director you can be. This week is no exception. We have a couple of great links for you on chairing a board.

We’re also highlighting a recently released report entitled High Performance in the Boardroom, from corporate director Tony Gaffney of Lambay Group Inc. with support from...

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Does 'Fit' Really Matter?

Recently, I worked with a board of directors to prepare a list of potential interview questions for prospective board members. The questions were carefully selected to try to uncover candidates’ ‘Three C’s’ – competence, character, and chemistry.

The first two C’s are fairly obvious. Competence questions focus on education, knowledge, skills, and experience. Character questions are meant to reveal the candidate’s integrity and moral courage.

But what...

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