The Role of Non-Executive Board Directors Today

by Lucy P. Marcus for The Huffington Post, December 20th, 2010.

As a non-executive board director, I have been thinking a great deal about what it means to do this role in today’s environment.

We exist in a dramatically different economic climate. With that comes increased scrutiny by stakeholders and governments alike, and with good reason. If our companies are the engine for bringing us out of the doldrums, then we need to have the best foundations and tools for them to do just that.

The nature of what it takes to be a responsible board member anywhere in the world has changed. Simply looking over the shoulder of the executive team and offering an occasional word of wisdom or direction is not sufficient. Non-executive board directors today need to be proactive in their approach to ensure that the organizations they serve do not simply survive but thrive. And nothing less should be demanded of them than that.

The best organizations of all sizes, in both the for-profit and not-for profit sectors, are looking for active, engaged, and independent board members, and they encourage a climate in which having those people on the board can bear fruit. These board rooms are environments in which board members are comfortable, and indeed required, to ask hard questions, challenge the status quo, and step up to assist in areas where they can. (continue reading… )



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