YPO Leaders Share Insights into Building an Optimal Board of Directors

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, Aug. 31, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — YPO, the premier chief executive leadership organization in the world, hosted a live Twitter chat discussing best practices and innovative strategies to create an optimal board of directors.

Featured guests included YPO members and experienced board advisors Bernie Tenenbaum (@exprof2), founder and managing partner of Lodestone Global, and Carl Bates (@CarlBates), CEO of Sirdar Global Group and co-founder of Contribution Compass.

Bates and Tenenbaum kicked off the hour-long interactive session focusing on the most effective strategies and best practices of creating an impactful board of directors for business of any size and structure.

“Complexity is key – simple businesses with a local orientation might find it too expensive to justify,” noted Tenenbaum. “More complex businesses benefit from insight, resources and perspectives that differ from the owner or management. It’s a simple cost benefit. Everyone can benefit from a different viewpoint.”

Bates added: “Not every business needs one – it depends on the objectives of the company, shareholders and other stakeholders. Founders need to understand the changes having a board brings, but also the benefits that come with it.”

When asked about the appropriate range of responsibilities of board members, Bates said, “Directors must understand the company, provide insight, attend meetings and do their preparation! Ultimately, the board is the compass – management is there to do the climbing. Directors must understand the work that occurs outside the boardroom – where the value can often be found.”

Tenenbaum added, “Be the landscape architect, not the gardener. Remember: the meeting starts where the board book ends. The key to board contribution starts with clarity of vision and strategic alignment with reality and management.”

Both Tenenbaum and Bates agreed that diversity is key in structuring an effective board, and that those board members representing  experiences, skills and perspectives from varied industries and backgrounds prove to be invaluable.

“Diversity is absolutely critical – whether it be gender, background or skills and experience,” said Bates. “In appointing boards, we focus a lot on the balance of natural energy, too, the diversity of focus.”

“More than 90 percent of boards with at least one woman director reported that their companies increased revenues by an average of 35 percent since the participant joined the board,” said Tenenbaum. “More importantly, it’s just obvious that group intelligence is improved by diversity.”

Tenenbaum and Bates reinforced the importance of selecting those individuals who have a vision for the future and will challenge the status quo.

“Design your board to support where you’re going, not where you are today,” said Tenenbaum. “Wayne Gretzky famously explained his success as ‘skating to where the puck was going!’

“You want the people who challenge (and upset you),” said Bates. “Founder/managers often will steer clear of the challengers they really need on their board – that’s the value.”

Finishing the chat, Bates and Tenenbaum shared their advice on creating a more engaged board, agreeing that the best practice is to get members involved and invested.

“Encourage disagreements, reward differing viewpoints and align around a strategy, commented Tenenbaum. “Relationships precede transactions: expose the board to your team, and encourage interaction between meetings!”

Search #YPOLeadership on Twitter to view the full discussion with @YPO.

About YPO

YPO is a global community of chief executives dedicated to becoming Better Leaders through Lifelong Learning and Idea ExchangeTM. We create trusted spaces where leaders gather, connect, share and grow. The YPO platform provides more than 25,000 members in more than 130 countries – representing diversified industries and types of businesses – with access to extraordinary educational opportunities, alliances with leading institutions, and interest-based communities to support their businesses, communities and families. For more information, visit .

Linda Fisk
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