Changing the Nature of Board Engagement
Boosting the effectiveness of boards is not just about directors devoting more time to their organizations. It's also about changing the nature of the engagement between board members and senior staff. The two must be able to engage and connect between meetings in order to stay current, and they need to work out what rhythm and frequency are right for them regarding such impromptu discussions. In addition, when things get out of balance, experimentation and course correction are likely to be necessary.

One way to enhance board engagement is to assign directors areas of focus. For example, board members can assume roles in specific strategic initiatives, such as cybersecurity or risk management. The goal is to match individual directors with especially appropriate topics. Similarly, strategy is an area where the diverse experiences and pattern-recognition skills of very experienced directors make it possible for them to add significant value. Some organizations may also consider tasking one director with serving in an "integrator" role. This individual will be responsible for bringing disparate points together in order to keep the board operating at optional levels.
McKinsey Quarterly (04/15) Huyett, Bill; Zemmel, Rodney
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