Digital Governance

Corporate governance in a digital world

Evaluating board dynamics

The method identifies the roles board members take on during board meetings. A complete set of roles indicate that the board is well balanced. Gaps help the board to find ways to balance and add value. The method provides search profiles for the nomination committee.

The method asks for positive contributions. 

It gives a picture of ..

  • how the board adds value
  • dynamics around the table
  • overall activity
  • the contribution of each board member
  • search profiles for new directors

How will results be utilized?

  • They provide a substrate for improvement.
  • Documentation for individual interviews.
  • Profiles for the nomination committee

How does the concept of roles work?

A director takes a role when he or she provides the board with views, proposals, comments about strategy, efficiency, organization, marketing, ethics and control. The roles also show if a member visionary or result orientated. A different set of roles show if the person is driving or cautious, independent or integrating and risk oriented or not.

How is it done?

The roles are defined and adapted to the industry. Board members are grading their colleagues for each role The description of roles is adapted to the industry in question. Board members are grading their colleagues for each role and the level of their contribution – half or fully. The respondent must limit the number of board members. The process takes no more than around twenty minutes. The analysis looks for consensus and a picture emerges.

How do we start?

You will receive an introduction to the method so you can inform the board. We will then send a web survey to board members with further instructions. We analyse the results and provide you with a report.

How will you use the results? 

The report contains graphs and comments showing how the board works. The discussion that follows is the key to improvement and development. We provide a common ground for what the board thinks about itself. “You have given this picture. Do you recognize it? Is it correct? If not describe it?” We go on discussing if and what action should be taken.  

If restrictions are lifted we will come and see you or instruct a facilitator of your choice. A webinar is will not give the quite the same quality but could work to introduce the method

The method has been used by a number of listed companies in Sweden.

For a contact click here

To see reference list of companies click here

Go on reading

First the rationality of the method. 

Governance is about control and direction. A board should have oversight of all aspects of the company and its operations. It includes understand its legacy and the future in a changing environment. Board members will take different roles in different situations, but usually there is a pattern.

The roles are defined in the following way:

 Who is focusing on the company and who looks at the business environment? Who is active in control and strategy? Who adds knowledge about marketing, production and digital challenges? We define them as business roles. 

Who takes initiatives, who acts in an independent manner and who stands for reflection, analyses and questioning? Is there a visionary balanced with a doer and what kind of risk profiles does the board contain? We call them dynamic roles.

The method seeks to map the balance. Past and future, inwards the organization and out to partners and customers, drive and caution. 

The expression of roles may reflect background, personality but also the ability to see what is needed in eachsituation, for example caution or drive and the right level of risk exposure. 

Our experience is that board members can identify the roles if presented with a description and asked who takes them. It is easy to fill in the form. Board members are observant.

Our approach goes well beyond a skill matrix. We seek to map what is delivered in the board room. Actual performance depends on engagement, ability to communicate, courage and integrity. The chair will have a strong impact on the atmosphere in the room.

This is how we do it

We twelve roles in each of the two categories. Each role has a description. We ask board members to identify who takes on each role among fellow board members. They have to limit their choice to three or four board members depending on the size of the board. The board member does not evaluate its own contribution.

This is how we analyze the results

We assign a role to a person when answers coincide. We set up criteria on number of answers for each role. Scattered answers are regarded as signals of activity and not as a notable contribution.

The results give a picture of how the board works. The results are presented as star diagrams. They show if all roles are present and if several members take on a role and the level of engagement. Individually it will show if a person is active, adding value, making proposals or if contributions are in the form of questions or comments.   

We deliver the following material

  • The star diagram that shows overall balance.
  • An activity chart for all board member
  • Individual profiles (used mostly for the nomination committees)
  • Written analysis of the results

As a small group will not give statistically valid results, we will go back to the board and say: “Look here is the picture based on your answers. What do say, is it correct?

The presentation

The board should dedicate around one hour for the presentation to give it time for reflection. A follow up should be held at the following meeting or at the next strategic seminar. 

The discussion deepens the analysis. An eloquent person may receive high scores, but with poor substance. Someone mostly silent might have valuable contributions whenever he or she speaks up. The focus is on the board as a unit and gives valuable feedback to the chair.

Personal profiles and are only shown to the chairman and the nomination committee. The chair could open a personal interview asking. ”What are your comments about your profile?” 

For a contact click here