What Are The Critical Questions To Ask Every Prospective Board Member?

Andrew Hill’s recent management challenge at the Financial Times ‘Business School’ was to identify the ideal question to ask to a former CEO seeking a board position

We thought the FT’s boardroom selection challenge was particularly interesting. With the emergence of ESG, board members are under more intense scrutiny and pressure than ever before – something our Chair, Paul Kearns wrote about in a recent Board Agenda magazine feature.

Andrew Hill was particularly concerned with how former CEO’s can easily accumulate non-executive roles, regardless of their previous successes or failures. This is, of course, extremely important in the context of board capability and effectiveness. But boards are now being required to consider corporate purpose, culture risk, stakeholder engagement and how their businesses should both serve society and deliver financial performance; board selection, expertise and capability is, therefore, in new territory.

To keep it simple, we distilled what we believe are 3 crucial questions (with supplementaries), as follows:

From 32 (OMINDEX®) Questions a Mature CEO asks – the baseline, Maturity Institute standard question set for CEOs – https://www.hrmaturity.com/our-purpose/32-questions-a-mature-ceo-asks/

Q. 1.” How do you define value? How would you apply that to our company? Can you give examples of applying it elsewhere?”

From A Global Standard for Good Governance and Healthy Organizational Culture https://www.hrmaturity.com/a-global-standard-for-good-governance-and-healthy-organizational-culture/

Q. 2. “What personal standards of good governance will you bring? Can you provide a recent example of practising what you preach?”

From Business school education – behind the ESG curve? https://www.hrmaturity.com/business-school-education-behind-the-esg-curve/

Q. 3. “How can we simultaneously reconcile the creation of ‘value’ for both the market (i.e. shareholders) and society (all other stakeholders)?”  

These questions are, in fact, already in front of some boards, having been incorporated into equity research reports, ratings analysis of companies covered using OMINDEX®, and also now integrated into board evaluation work. They are covered in detail within our core text: ‘The Mature Corporation – A Model of Responsible Capitalism’ . You might like to consider how they compare to the question Andrew Hill selected for his subsequent FT piece.

How would your board answer our questions? Would they pass your own selection test? If you would like more information about how our OMINDEX® ESG standard and diagnostic is being used by boards and c-suites, please contact stuart.woollard@omservices.org

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