The board of directors play a significant role in the growth and success of any business. They determine the direction of a company and are responsible for executing company policies. Ultimately, picking the wrong board can be detrimental to your company. Here are six factors to guide you when picking your board:
- Diversity: You should consider choosing a mix of people from diverse backgrounds, different skill sets, expertise and consist of older and younger members. Having a diverse mix of board members will bring different energies, experiences and opinions that will help your business stay competitive and scale up in no time.
- Alignment: It is important for any one you are bringing as a board member to align with the vision and objectives of your company. Prospective board members must understand and fit into the company culture. Proper alignment will reduce the tendency for conflict between board members and ensure that they work together in making strategic decisions for the company.
- Odd Numbers: You need clear feedback from your board of directors to help you make informed decisions for your company. Having an even number of members makes it difficult to make decisions, especially when there is a need to vote. An odd number of members will help weigh your decision-making process.
- Involvement: Pick board members that will prioritize your company and will be actively involved in all the major decision-making. Avoid people who are passive, highly opinionated, confrontational or appear to have personal interest that will negatively impact your business.
- Relevant Expertise: You need members who can support your management without micro-managing it. You must identify candidates who have the relevant expertise and understand their roles and responsibilities. Background checks on potential candidates may be helpful in knowing if they have previous experience working in similar organizations. Don’t shy away from discussing your expectations from board members.
- Few Appointees: It is not advisable to have many board members in a new company. This will often result in a longer decision making process, decreased engagement and can sometimes cause unnecessary chaos among members. If you want to run an active group of board of directors, appoint few active members. Fred Wilson, a co-founder of Union Square, a venture capital firm with investments in web 2.0 companies such as Twitter, Tumblr and Kickstarter, suggests that a company should have no more than 7 board members: two founders, a maximum of three Venture Capitalists and two other industry professionals. Overall, it is key is to choose a board that have the best interest of your company at heart.