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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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Trust and The Savvy Director

Recently, I had the opportunity to hear author Brian Hayward speak about his new book, The Great Chair: A Window on Effective Board Leadership. I was particularly struck by Brian’s comments on the topic of trust in the boardroom, and how it links to the ability to influence others.

Brian’s book is all about board chairs, and why they are more important than ever for effective governance, so his writing reflects the importance of trust in the board chair’s relationship to...

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"You may be right, but do you want to be invited back?"

The question posed above by my finance professor in business school may be one of the most impactful lessons of my university education. Not sure why, except maybe to suggest that his question really hit home.

The question was pretty much a side comment to the discussion that was underway at the time and I’m not sure it resonated with others in my MBA class. But it did resonate for me. I was not even into boards yet, so, it wasn’t about that. Nonetheless it’s a powerful...

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The People Side of Board Dysfunction

 

If you find your board work a less than enjoyable experience, and board meetings boring and frustrating, maybe you’re part of a dysfunctional board.

When it comes to a board of directors, dysfunction tends to arise from two broad areas – process and people. You’re probably not surprised that people-centered dysfunction is way more frustrating to experience, and way trickier to fix, than the process-centered kind. That’s what happens when you throw human nature...

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Fixing a Dysfunctional Board

 

Your board work should be an enjoyable experience, especially if you like dealing with interesting, complex issues where the best way forward is often difficult to discern. At their best, your board meetings should be intellectually stimulating, engaging, and rewarding – a place where you have the opportunity to exchange views with people you respect and dig down into all sorts of fascinating data.

Then why are so many board meetings boring? And why are so many board directors...

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The Ego Paradox

“The paradox of board leadership is that, while you might earn a seat on a board of directors thanks to your abilities, knowledge, or popularity, serving well as a board member means leaving your ego behind.” – Susan Mogensen, Brown Dog Consulting

It’s not a surprise that, as a general rule, board directors have healthy egos. After all, they’re most often selected from among the ranks of successful business people, entrepreneurs, professionals, and academics....

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Helping Others Find Their Voice

Does it sometimes feel as though you hear from the same few directors at every board meeting? What about all the others? Why do they stay silent? And more importantly, what can be done about it?

These days, many boards are consciously pursuing more diversity around the board table. The benefits include exposure to a variety of viewpoints, a range of experiences to draw on, and greater insight into stakeholders’ concerns and perspectives. But board diversity won’t deliver on its...

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Boardroom Influence - Part 2

What should you do when trust has been damaged between you and other board members? Is there a way to recover? Are there differences in how men and women cultivate influence? What adjustments are needed if the board meeting is virtual? And what ethical considerations crop up when it comes to influence between meetings?

We left some of these questions unanswered in last week’s edition of The Savvy Director, ‘Cultivating Your Influence in the Boardroom.’ No worries -...

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Cultivating Your Influence in the Boardroom

Having influence in the boardroom gives you the ability to change hearts, minds, and behavior. It’s about using your words to share an idea or to move other people toward a position that you support. Make no mistake, being able to influence people is a difficult challenge that all leaders face.

And, as a member of a board of directors, you are one of those leaders.

In this context, we’re talking about the ability to influence your peers around the board table. If you’re new...

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Shifting into High Gear

This article is the second of two dealing with board engagement. Click here for our first article – Getting in Gear.
 
In the first Savvy Director article on board engagement, Getting in Gear, we explored the meaning of board engagement, some of the signs of engaged or disengaged boards, and how to measure board engagement. The title “getting in gear” implied moving from a neutral position  – with gears disengaged – to low gear to start dealing with...
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Getting in Gear

This article is the first of two dealing with board engagement. Part 2, “Shifting into High Gear,” was published on April 24th.

I like the metaphor of “getting in gear” to refer to the topic of board engagement. It’s a familiar phrase that means “starting to deal with something in an effective way.” When a board of directors gets in gear, it starts to deal with the issues and concerns in front of it in an effective way. In other words, it makes...

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