Developing a Skills-Based Board

So, you have identified the KSA’s (knowledge, skills and attitudes) needed on your board at the present time.  How can you make that happen?  

    If you have a leadership development program functioning among your membership, you will already be well acquainted with the developing KSA’s available there.  If that program is too new to have results, organize an internal search for relevant talent and interest.  Do not make this a volunteer or self-nomination process.  That approach often over identifies self-promoters and will certainly not result in increased diversity by gender, ethnicity or experience.  Research on board productivity indicates that increased diversity is associated with better results at any point in the strategy cycle.

    Once the talent and interest in leadership has been identified, look to actively develop the needed KSA’s.  Many industries and professions have leadership development programs tailored specifically to their memberships.  Most business schools offer board member training and credentialing.  Alternatively, and more efficiently in terms of cost and time, you can organize focused KSA development for your current and future board members with an experienced consultant.  

Look for someone well acquainted with your organizational sector to improve the translation/ application process.  Work actively with the consultant to create training experiences that suit your needs, your people and your organization.  This is not the time for cookie-cutter courses developed generically or for some other purpose.  Work with the consultant to create meaningful application components throughout the training so that the trainees can test and improve their developing KSA’s as monitored and supported by management and the current board.  You will all be surprised at how rewarding this is for everyone involved!  And as a bonus, you have a good start on that on-going leadership development program!

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