The Importance of Board Composition

The composition of the board is the mixture of people a board selects to oversee an organisation. This includes the mix of inside directors and outside directors and the proportion of men, women and minorities, and whether board members come from different generations. It also considers the mix of expertise in governance and management issues including fundraising and legal risk.

Diversity is an essential component of good board composition, and many boards are looking for new ways to diversify their members. Organizations can start by running an audit of their current board members to determine gaps in diversity and determine the areas where recruitment efforts should be focused. Diversity is a must in all aspects, from race and gender to age, education, qualifications and experiences.

In addition to focusing on diversity, a successful board needs matrix can also help boards understand what kind of people they need on the board. A typical matrix is a grid similar to Excel which lists the characteristics of board directors and the skills required to perform their duties. This information can be used by the committee to develop a shortlist of possible nominees, and then determine their ranking based on how they perform in the context of the requirements.

A board must balance the interests and requirements of shareholders and the management team. This typically means that the board is comprised of a mixture of inside and external directors, with inside directors being experienced in managing businesses or non-profits. Boards also have a chairperson who oversees the work of the board as well as the committees.