Board service is an excellent chance to step out of your typical business duties and develop your ability to consider an organization as an entire entity, not only the functional areas you’ve supervised in the past. You’ll also be exposed to a greater range of issues and problems faced by businesses. You may be faced with difficult decisions that impact the people around you, for example, the decision to make redundancies or shutting down the branch. These situations teach you how to think objectively and not be influenced by your own feelings or those of your colleagues.
Another issue to be addressed is how to ensure that a wide variety of voices are heard during the decision-making process and deliberations. Boards use a variety of methods to achieve this. Some boards encourage directors to play devil’s advocate during meetings, while others utilize whiteboards to brainstorm ideas and brainstorm possible solutions prior to making decisions. This can help remove decision-making from the personality of individuals and helps in avoiding groupthink.
Boards can also boost their effectiveness by being prepared to challenge the traditional structures that have been in place for many years. Some board members, for example, are re-examining the committee structures. They are unsure if they fulfill their function and are an efficient way to run meetings. They are looking for innovative ways to identify trends and insights that can be hidden within the data and digital tools.