Questions board members should ask

21 May, 2023 - 00:05 0 Views
Questions board members should ask If you are not asking questions about something, there is a problem, but what should you ask about?

The Sunday Mail


Dr Proctor Nyemba

WHAT questions should one ask as a board member? We can split them into two main groups. Ensure you cover both.

It goes without saying that all directors should be curious people. If you are not asking questions about something, there is a problem. But what should you ask about? It can sometimes be tricky to tell. Boards are, after all, high-stakes environments, where a lot of information is discussed at once.

If you get lost in it all, reset your brain. The questions below will help and remind you of why you are in that board seat, to begin with.

On the questions, here are the two broad groups: One concerns the company; the other is about you and the people around you.

The company

Your role as a director is dedicated to the company’s best interest. Your work and actions need to reflect that.

The questions below ensure you think that way throughout your career.

Is the company in the hands of trained professionals?

Does it need new skills at the governance level?

How will the company survive in the long term?

What risks does the company face?

Does it need a change in strategy to do that?

What market shocks should the company prepare for?

What innovations will impact the company and how can we ensure that impact is positive?

Are there any new laws that could impact the company’s business?

What does success look like, and how will the board measure it?

How can the company evaluate the board’s success? What metrics will be used?

You and the people around you

Good boards are great teams. Their members are confident of their own abilities and how they relate to others. Relationships are solid, meetings are productive and new ideas have the breathing space they need.

This kind of environment rarely happens on its own. It is the result of positive attitudes and hard work at relationship-building. With that in mind, here are some questions you should ask yourself to keep yourself in check.

Am I capable? Can I improve my governance potential with training?

Have I gone to all board meetings and been prepared for discussion?

  • Do I accurately represent what I believe are shareholder wishes in my work as a director?

What are my skills? Why was I hired as a director?

How can my skills best contribute to the organisation?

How does the rest of the board expect me to contribute to the organisation?

How do I fit into the board? Who do I get along with? Is there anyone I struggle with?

Have I seen flaws in governance? If yes, have I voiced them?

Have I seen opportunities the company does not seem to be acting on? If yes, have I voiced them?

Remember, these questions are generic.

Your business might involve several others unique to the industry or your particular role.


Dr Proctor Nyemba is Certified Professional Director®-Pro.Dir specialising in governance and strategy, governance and risk, governance and people, governance and board effectiveness, governance and resources, governance culture and behaviour. He helps board members and executives understand their role in governance so they can succeed in the boardroom. For comments and feedback, please send to: [email protected], Call 0772469893.


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