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How to find the right NED

The right non-executive directors can bring great value to board meetings, but the wrong ones can bog an organisation down in a quagmire of corporate governance, says Oliver Cummings.

Every board should have the ambition to shape the future success of the company and drive it to greater heights.

The right mix of skills at board level will broaden the horizons and ambition of the business, stimulate opportunities, motivate and inform executive directors, and instigate change that will secure success. Bad boards rubber-stamp executive decisions and often just provide a veneer of good practice and governance.

Too often organisations fail to maximise the value of their nonexecutive directors (NEDs) because of avoidable mistakes. The most common pitfalls include: 

  • not having the right chair;
  • failing to be sufficiently clear
  • about what each board member should contribute;
  • failing to source talent from a broad enough pool of candidates;
  • not distinguishing between investor directors and independent directors;
  • pursuing diversity for diversity’s sake;
  • not conducting a proper candidate assessment process; and
  • failing to run a proper onboarding process.

This is an extract from the Business & Management Magazine, Issue 272, March 2019.

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