5 key ingredients for the perfect board

The key ingredients for the perfect board are not what you think, according to Stuart R. Levine, chairman and CEO of Stuart Levine & Associates, a management consulting firm based in Jericho, N.Y.

Prior to founding his firm in 1996, Mr. Levine served as CEO of Dale Carnegie & Associates, along with numerous board leadership positions. He is the author of "The Six Fundamentals of Success: The Rules for Getting it Right for Yourself and Your Organization" and its sequel "Cut to the Chase," as well as the co-author of "The Leader in You," which combined have sold more than one million copies.

In a recent presentation hosted by Passageways, Mr. Levine shared five tips for creating a successful board.

  1. Board optimization.The perfect board consists of a well-functioning team with clearly defined responsibilities and a good understanding of the future.

  2. Board assessment. A successful board must ask itself: Are we functioning at the highest level possible? Are we balancing responsibility well? Boards must conduct an independent assessment and participate in internal discussions to evaluate the success of the group as a starting point for change.

  3. Board culture/continuous learning. Board materials should be distributed in advance of every meeting to stimulate discussion and new thinking. The basis for a strong board culture comes from exercising an independent business judgment.

  1. Lean into the future of your customers. The board must ask: Where will this corporation be in five years? Board members must be aware of the competitive landscape and future of the industry. The board needs to understand technology and how it is emerging to procreate products or services that add value for the customer.

  2. Succession planning. A good understanding of the future will guide the selection process for the organization's next leader. The board must find a leader who can guide the organization toward the board's future goals and represent both the organization's customer base and workforce.

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