Having highly talented, experienced board members is an important part of a successful board. How those board members describe, assess, and resolve issues differentiates great boards from boards that drain energy. Harnessing the talents of great board members into a force that pulls together takes intentionality and agreements between the individuals about how they will communicate and what the process is for problem resolution.
These two elements, communication and problem resolution, are often assumed to be in place. The argument goes that a board candidate would not have risen to this level without good communication and problem resolution skills. That assumption is right often enough for people to take it for granted. Unfortunately, we all know people who have reached high levels of success through intimidation and downright bullying. One or two highly vocal, invalidating people on a board can shut down creative thinking and participation or just tie up valuable time with unproductive argument. It is more efficient to establish clear expectations about how the board will communicate and what the process is for problem identification and resolution. The individual board members can vet their own behavior against that standard and hold one another accountable for sticking to those agreements.