Webinar recap: Learning your board members’ unique strengths, along with their backgrounds and perspectives, will lead to better decisions and a more effective board.
In the early portion of OnBoard’s recent webinar, “Skills Tracking & Board Composition,” moderators presented a poll question: “Are you keeping track of your board’s skills today?”
While 74% of respondents said they were, only 9% claimed to “have a formal, proven process that’s working.” Another 26% responded, “yes, though we want to get better,” and the largest plurality (38%) said “kind of; limited in scope and completeness.”
OnBoard Chief Product Officer Doug Wilson, one of the webinar presenters, encouraged attendees to make skills tracking a higher priority. “Don’t think of this as a check-the-box activity,” he said. “Think about the value of this. You’ll get so much more out of it.”
Fortunately for OnBoard subscribers, they’ll have access to a new Skills Tracking feature available soon.
“Don’t think of this as a check-the-box activity. Think about the value of this. You’ll get so much more out of it.”
Why Board Composition Matters
Diversity is important when building a board, but boards should think of diversity beyond the conventional sense (race, gender, etc.). Boards should also consider their members’ diversity in skill sets, experience, and background, which can bring some natural competitive advantages to your board.
“If you have a balanced board, you tend to have better conversations, more diversity of thought, make better decisions, and have a more holistic strategy,” said Karen Griffin, OnBoard’s head of customer and product marketing.
Skills Tracking can help boards navigate this priority. It can help boards recognize and alleviate experiential blind spots and leverage that diversity in a way that helps the board and the organization it serves thrive.
Why Track Your Board’s Skills?
Skills tracking provides boards with three distinct advantages over boards that don’t do it:
- It provides a comprehensive view of board members’ skills and experience
- It enables boards to make informed decisions for succession planning and recruitment
- It becomes an important part of the board’s future
“When you know the skills that are important to your organization, now you can look for the gaps,” Wilson said. “If you don’t have those things in place today, it makes it challenging to know what to look for in your next board member.”
Currently, in the absence of a skills tracking board management tool, nearly half (48%) of webinar attendees said they use an Excel spreadsheet or a Word document to track board members’ skills. Another 11% said they use online surveys like SurveyMonkey or Google Forms.
How Skills Tracking Can Revolutionize Your Board
Presenters listed the following ways OnBoard’s Skills Tracking tool will help their boards operate better:
- Manage skills tracking for their boards within the OnBoard platform
- Identify skills gaps in their current boards
- Make informed decisions for new member recruitment or succession planning that aligns with their strategic direction
- Save time and minimize complexity by having their board composition data in a central, secure location
From there, presenters shared a demonstration of how the skills tracking feature will work. It will allow users to select skill needs, assign skills to board members, notify board members of any updates, and select board members to assign skills. Board members will also be able to add new skills to the platform, which will be pre-populated with “typical” skills.
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About The Author
- At OnBoard, we believe board meetings should be informed, effective, and uncomplicated. That’s why we give boards and leadership teams an elegant solution that simplifies governance. With customers in higher education, nonprofit, health care systems, government, and corporate enterprise business, OnBoard is the leading board management provider.