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The Role of Corporate Boards

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In addition to hiring, supervising and firing top managers Boards are also responsible for ensuring that management performs at an optimum level and keeping the company on track in line with its strategic goals. They also provide direction and support to the CEO and ensure compliance with regulatory bodies and ethical standards.

Most boards focus on the big picture. They are like a jumbo-jet soaring at 30,000 ft. A CEO is like a pilot flying at 2,000 feet and making adjustments as necessary.

The most important function of boards is to formulate the company’s overall strategy, and then to work as the team to implement it. In times of crisis they can be extremely useful. « No CEO can be an expert in every area, » says Brotherton. « But the board gives them an unbiased, strategic view which allows them to guide the company through difficult waters. »

The professional networks of board members are among the most valuable contributions they can offer. A board member who has a solid background in a specific industry or business may be able to connect the organization with important resources, including potential strategic partners, investors and professional advisors.

A successful board member is able to offer constructive feedback and constructive challenge on strategic issues, such as organizational investments, performance evaluations, program funding and policy creation. The chance to sharpen your governance skills and establish credibility in the corporate world can impact your career. Additionally, the chance to establish a solid network of professional connections could provide opportunities for you in the public and private sectors.

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