Boardroom Insider

Boardroom Insider



What is the difference between a board “approval” and a board “decision?”   A lot, according to an article in the December issue of online governance monthly Boardroom INSIDER.  Ralph Ward, BI editor and business speaker, notes that a board decision implies “active information and discussion” in the boardroom, while approval “shows a more passive, rote approach.”

While boards like to view most of their votes as active, involved decision making, Ward writes that “if we’re honest with ourselves, most boardwork looks a lot more like approvals.”   An agenda item comes up, the chair asks if there is any discussion, and hearing none, “all directors who aren’t checking their text messages grunt ‘aye.’”

Yet Ward notes that this is not always a bad thing — most board business really is simple approval of basic items — but these tend to eat up as much time as vital strategic, financial and compliance matters.  Smart boards, he notes develop a triage system to quickly package approval items, leaving more time for discussion on important decisions.   “Devoting more board time to fewer items is the way to go.”

Other articles in the December issue include:

  • Five tactics for making board diversity really happen.
  • Paying your “lead director” – latest trends.
  • Q&A: Do we want our CFO serving on an outside board? (Yes!)

Ralph Ward’s latest book, Board Seeker: Your Guidebook and Career Map into the Corporate Boardroom (Business Expert Press) gathers 20 years’ experience in board counseling and research to give “board wannabes” the steps and insights needed to craft a successful board search campaign.
— Here’s why you have more “board experience” than you think (and why your current resume hides it).
— How women can jump the career obstacles they face into the boardroom.
— Finding your board search mentors and networks.
— How board searches really work (and how to turn flaws in the process to your advantage).
— Gaining the attention of board contacts and search firms.
— Prepping for a board interview… and for your first board meeting.


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