Finding the Best Fit for Your Board

Two considerations when appointing a new director to your board are the board’s current composition and the reason for the vacancy.

Is everyone on the board of a similar age group or similar background e.g. finance? Are specific tendencies dominant on the board e.g. are the members typically do-ers with no strategic thinkers, or maybe the other way around?

If the vacancy is due to resignation or cyclical changes, finding someone new could be simpler than if the vacancy exists due to the business expanding and therefore needing someone with a different outlook.

Let’s look at five further aspects to consider when appointing a new board member.

Take Business Direction into Account

Are mergers on your agenda at the moment? If so, you would ideally want someone on your board who has experience with such. The same goes with entering into a joint venture (JV). Make sure that the person you appoint has the right type of experience that you require given where the business is headed. For example, if you are already in discussions regarding a JV, you need someone with experience in making the JV a reality rather than someone who is experienced in finding a suitable JV partner.

Look Beyond Your Contacts

Relying on your own network to find potential candidates could lead to groupthink (where decision-making is unchallenged) and the very real possibility of not looking widely enough. Just because someone comes recommended, does not mean that they have exactly what you are looking for, no matter how professional or reliable they are. As board appointment specialists, Sirdar looks objectively at what you need and how potential candidates can support your board meaningfully.

Consider Personalities

We all know that some people “gel” better than others. It is important that board members complement each other while at the same time offering different strengths: A well-balanced board is a more effective board. Sirdar uses Contribution Compass, the leading team-profiling tool, to determine where board members’ natural energies lie and where gaps might exist when looking for candidates to fill vacancies.

Support Diversity

Diversity speaks to more than just race, gender and age. Board members who have varied perspectives and backgrounds are better poised to explore and find the best options and solutions for your business. When shortlisting candidates, consider the industries that they are knowledgeable in, what languages they can speak and cultural experience (especially if you are looking to grow the business into other countries).

Ensure Values Alignment

While alignment to the business’s values should be a requirement for anyone in the business, it is especially so for board members as they need to set the example for everyone. Furthermore, they potentially face delinquency – and the business faces unwanted scrutiny – if not living up to values such as transparency, integrity and honesty.

While appointing directors to your board – or setting up a board from scratch – may seem like a daunting prospect, leaving this exercise to a board appointment specialist such as Sirdar makes the process simple yet thorough.

About Beverley Hancock, Head of Sirdar Appoint

Beverley facilitates the appointment of non-executive directors throughout Africa by working to understand board structures, natural energies within the team and exact requirements. She also focuses on the continued growth and success of the Sirdar Director Network: Africa’s largest member network of active and aspiring non-executive directors. With over 25 years of experience in executive search and recruitment, contact Beverley via beverleyhancock@sirdargroup.com to find out how she can support your board member appointment needs.

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