Board of Directors Leadership Tips
board can maintain a governance power balance by
1. No more than two
inside (management) directors on the board.
2. Only outside
directors serve on the audit, nominating and
3. Board members
understand that they are directly accountable to and
aligned with stakeholders. This accountability should
be reflected in restrictions on stock purchases and
sales by directors during their terms of service.
4. Create an open
board environment where directors are encouraged to
speak up and
Thorny questions or alternative solutions should not
be considered being "disloyal to company
regularly meet with members of management without the
CEO being present.
6. Mandatory term
and age limits of board members to allow for new
7. Conduct an
anonymous annual self-evaluation of the board's
An effective board
of directors views its composition as strategic and
focuses its time and attention on important issues.
The board insures that no outside director directly or
indirectly draws consulting, legal or other fees from
the organization. Nor does the board allow the CEO to
stack the board with friends or high-profile
non-participating board members.
board of directors can remain knowledgeable about what
1. Making the CEO
paint the "big picture" in annual strategic planning
sessions with the board.
2. Keeping in touch
with key stakeholders through two-way
3. Deciding what
needs to be measured and requesting monthly reporting
of key success factors.
4. Act on what
matters by not only setting policy but, also, insuring
that proper implementation happens.
With the recent
reportings of unethical behavior by some executives in
Corporate America, it may be time to publicly discuss
business ethics. Ethical behavior enhances the
well-being of everyone because it comes from, and
reinforces, motives and emotions such as love, joy,
generosity and compassion.
questions like, "What kind of leader am I trying to
be?" and "What am I trying to keep?" can help
executives move from where they are today toward
ethical behavior by becoming more self-aware. Moving
from an "egocentric" state to a "world-centric" state
can help us understand what others need and how we can
give it to them.
For more information
on how executives can put the "Law
to work for
themselves and their organization, please
"A great deal of
attention has been paid . . . to the technical
languages in which men of science do their specialized
thinking . . . . But the colloquial usages of everyday
speech, the literary and philosophical dialects in
which men do their thinking about the problems of
morals, politics, religion and psychology -- these
have been strangely neglected. We talk about 'mere
matters of words' in a tone which implies that we
regard words as things beneath the notice of a
This is a most
unfortunate attitude. For the fact is that words play
an enormous part in our lives and are therefore
deserving of the closest study. The old idea that
words possess magical powers is false; but its falsity
is the distortion of a very important
Words do have a
magical effect -- but not in the way that the
magicians supposed, and not on the objects they were
trying to influence. Words are magical in the way they
affect the minds of those who use them.
A mere matter of
words, we say contemptuously, forgetting that words
have power to mould men's thinking, to canalize their
feeling, to direct their willing and acting. Conduct
and character are largely determined by the nature of
the words we currently use to discuss ourselves and
the world around us."
-- ALDOUS HUXLEY,
Words and Their Meanings.
A group of business and thought leaders have created
Compliance and Ethics Group
(OCEG) to establish best practices and standards to
help businesses reduce corporate and investor risk.
More information is available at www.oceg.org
An emperor in the
Far East was growing old and knew it was time to
choose His successor. Instead of choosing one of his
assistants or his children, he decided something
different. He called all the young people in the
kingdom together one day.
He said, It is time
for me to step down and choose the next emperor. I
have decided to choose one of you. The kids were
shocked! But the emperor continued.
I am going to give
each one of you a seed today, one very special seed. I
want you to plant the seed, water it and come back
here one year from today with what you have grown from
this one seed.
I will then judge
the plants that you bring, and the one I choose will
be the next emperor!
One boy named Ling
was there that day and he, like the others, received a
seed. He went home and excitedly told his mother the
story. She helped him get a pot and planting soil, and
he planted the seed and watered it carefully. Every
day he would water it and watch to see if it had
After about three
weeks, some of the other youths began to talk about
their seeds and the plants that were beginning to
grow. Ling kept checking his seed, but nothing ever
grew. Three weeks, 4 weeks, 5 weeks went by. Still
By now, others were
talking about their plants but Ling didn't have a
plant, and he felt like a failure.
Six months went by;
still nothing in Ling's pot.
He just knew he had
killed his seed. Everyone else had trees and tall
plants, but he had nothing. Ling didn't say anything
to his friends, however. He just kept waiting for his
seed to grow.
A year finally went
by and all the youths of the kingdom brought their
plants to the emperor for inspection. Ling told his
mother that he wasn't going to take an empty pot but
his Mother said he must be honest about what happened.
Ling felt sick to his stomach, but he knew his Mother
was right. He took his empty pot to the palace.
When Ling arrived,
he was amazed at the variety of plants grown by the
other youths. They were beautiful-in all shapes and
sizes. Ling put his empty pot on the floor and many of
the other kids laughed at him. A few felt sorry for
him and just said, Hey nice try.
When the emperor
arrived, he surveyed the room and greeted the young
people. Ling just tried to hide in the back. My, what
great plants, trees and flowers you have grown, said
Today, one of you
will be appointed the next emperor!
All of a sudden, the
emperor spotted Ling at the back of the room with his
Empty pot. He ordered his guards to bring him to the
front. Ling was terrified.
The emperor knows
I'm a failure! Maybe he will have me killed! He
thought. When Ling got to the front, the Emperor asked
his name. My name is Ling, he replied.
All the kids were
laughing and making fun of him. The emperor asked
everyone to quiet down. He looked at Ling, and then
announced to the crowd, Behold your new emperor! His
name is Ling!
He couldn't even
grow his seed. How could he be the new emperor?
Then the emperor
said, One year ago today, I gave everyone here a seed.
I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it, and
bring it back to me today.
But I gave you all
boiled seeds, which would not grow. All of you, except
Ling, have brought me trees and plants and flowers.
When you found that the seed would not grow, you
substituted another seed for the one I gave you.
Ling was the only
one with the courage and honesty to bring me a pot
with my seed in it. Therefore, he is the one who will
be the new emperor!"
your executives need some ethical leadership
As we go into
ourselves, we can go more effectively out into the
world---and---as we go out into the world, we go
deeper into ourselves. For help in this process of
self-discovery, executives should seek a
executives are hired or promoted based upon their
technical skills and experience but fired due to their
A leadership coach
can help executives and entrepreneurs personally
develop from where they are today toward ethical
leadership behavior by becoming more self-aware.
Moving from an "egocentric" state to a
"community-centric and world-centric" state can help
you understand what others need and how you can give
it to them.
once said, "We should take care not to make the
intellect our god; it has, of course, powerful muscles
but no personality. It cannot lead; it can only
Leaders know and
science has discovered emotionality's deeper purpose:
the timeworn mechanisms of emotion allow two human
beings to receive the contents of each other's minds.
Emotion is the messenger of love; it is the vehicle
that carries every signal from one brimming heart to
happens in a series of interactive
people toward becoming comfortable with the language
of personal responsibility and commitment.
That is why
leadership development is not an event. It is a
process of participating in respectful conversations
where the leader recognizes his or her own feelings
and those of others in building safe and trusting
For human beings,
feeling deeply is synonymous with being
receiving leadership coaching tips for a year, here is
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As leaders, we must hold ourselves to a higher
standard, than we hold our subordinates, in order to
set the example we want them to work
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