STRATEGY > BOARD > Deal with the Lump under the Carpet


Deal with the Lump under the Carpet

One of the final but best ways to take your board’s performance to another level is to deal with what we call the lump under the carpet. It is the huge lump that has been there for quite some time, everyone knows it is there, they walk around it and it is not spoken about except in whispers.

What is your lump under the carpet? Is it a chairman who is stifling the board’s input or consuming half of the CEO’s time because he is trying to run the organization? Is it a group of octogenarians, grandfathered from the retirement age, who doze through meetings and occupy seats that are needed for different competency sets? Do you have several directors who do not carry their weight and therefore others are overworked? Are there members at the table who cause you concern given the increased scrutiny of boards today? Is it a director who will not turn loose of an issue after it is voted on and s/he keeps bringing it up? Do you have directors who become defensive any time someone questions them? Are some of your directors embarrassingly biased? Do you have directors who never seem prepared for the meeting?

You will free up untold amounts of energy that can be channeled toward organizational performance if the board’s leadership will go ahead and deal with the lump under the carpet. Everyone on the board will breathe a collective sigh of relief. Plenty of advisors exist to support the leadership through the process. And when it is done, call on those same advisors to help you put a process into place that will enable the board to deal with any ensuing director performance problems in an objective way and a way that will apply to any and all directors in the future. It is much easier to address director performance issues when there is a clear process to follow.

When you remove the lump under the carpet, it can dramatically change the dynamics or processes in the board. A void will exist and the board will have to create a new way of working together instead of the way that was devised to work around the lump. Advisors can guide the board through this transition in order to restore the board to more constructive patterns of relating and working together.



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