by John L. Ward

A very thoughtful family we know developed a family task force to develop the criteria and qualifications for next generation directors. More important than their conclusions, following, is their process: They interviewed current non-family directors and board chairmen they know in other family businesses.

Criteria for Next Generation Directors

  • Know the company and know its culture.  (Internships, company training programs, company mentors, or work experience are available as some ways to learn the company.)
  • Live the values.
  • Have three years of meaningful independent director board experience – as an observer or member – of a non-profit organization (beyond company foundation), a for-profit organization and/or of company subsidiary board.
  • Achieve success in chosen field of professional interest.
  • Confidentiality.
  • Boardroom competence (see competences that follow).
  • Governance education.
  • Respect of and by the family; active in Family Meeting process.
  • Time to serve – 12+ days/year.
  • No conflicts of interest.

Competencies for Effectiveness

  • Sound Judgment
  • Knowledge of the Business
  • Financial Acumen
  • Understanding of Governance Principles
  • Problem Solving Skills
  • Personal Commitment
  • Integrity
  • Global Perspective
  • Communication Skills
  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Adaptability

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