Building a board, and how to get it right

A well-rounded and effective board of directors is a crucial asset for any business. Philip Keezer asks what the perfect recipe for success is when building a board.

The individuals who make up the board play a pivotal role in shaping the strategic direction and ensuring the long-term success of the organization. When it comes to appointing board members, businesses must prioritize a mix of experience, knowledge, a range of perspectives, and trustworthiness. In this article, we will explore the key qualities to consider when selecting board members to build a strong and dynamic business board.

Experience and Expertise

One of the primary considerations in appointing board members is their experience and expertise. It is essential to have individuals with a deep understanding of the industry in which the business operates.

Industry veterans bring valuable insights, connections, knowledge of market trends and an understanding of the competitive landscape. Additionally, board members should possess relevant expertise in areas such as finance, operations, marketing, and governance.

This diversity of expertise allows for informed decision-making and a comprehensive understanding of the organization’s challenges and opportunities.

Range of Perspectives

A truly effective board benefits from a wide range of perspectives. By appointing individuals with diverse backgrounds, skills, and viewpoints, businesses can foster more robust discussions and encourage innovative thinking.

Board members with varied experiences can challenge conventional wisdom, identify blind spots, and bring fresh ideas to the table. This diversity can enhance problem-solving, promote creative decision-making, and help the organization navigate a rapidly changing business landscape.

A board that can creatively debate and challenge from a range of perspectives will be better for your business than a board of ‘yes men’.


Trust is the bedrock of any successful business relationship, and it is especially vital when forming a board of directors.

Board members must be individuals of unquestionable integrity and ethical standards. They should possess a track record of honesty, transparency, and accountability in their professional and personal lives. The trustworthiness of board members influences the culture of the organization and impacts its reputation in the eyes of stakeholders. Companies should undertake thorough due diligence to ensure that potential board members have a history of acting in the best interests of the company and its stakeholders.

Strategic Vision

Board members play a pivotal role in shaping the strategic vision of the organization. They must be forward-thinking and possess the ability to anticipate future trends and disruptions in the market.

A strong board member not only understands the current state of the business but also has the ability to envision its future potential. Look for individuals with a track record of strategic decision-making, innovative thinking, and the ability to balance long-term vision with short-term goals.

Leadership and Collaboration

Effective board members are leaders in their respective fields. They should possess strong leadership qualities, including the ability to inspire, motivate, and influence others.

Look for individuals who have demonstrated success in managing teams, driving change, and fostering a collaborative environment. Board members must be able to work together as a cohesive unit, setting aside personal agendas and working towards the collective success of the organization.

Independent Thinking and Constructive Challenge

While it is important for board members to work collaboratively, they should also possess the ability to think independently and challenge prevailing opinions when necessary.

A healthy dose of constructive challenge helps avoid groupthink and encourages robust decision-making. Board members should be willing to ask tough questions, critically evaluate proposals, and provide objective assessments of the organization’s performance. Independent thinking, when balanced with collaboration, leads to well-informed decisions and better governance.

Appointing the right individuals to a business board is a critical process that demands careful consideration. By prioritizing a mix of experience, knowledge, diverse perspectives, trustworthiness, and strategic vision, businesses can build a strong and effective board. Remember that board members should possess leadership qualities, be able to collaborate effectively, think independently, and challenge prevailing opinions when necessary.