- The optimal mix of skills and experience on your Board or Committee will be different for each organisation. Consider a combination of knowledge and expertise in the sector your organisation operates; ‘soft skills’ such as strategic thinking and leadership; functional specialties such as finance or marketing, as well as voices from the community your organisation serves.
- There will be constitutional/internal rules about the Board’s composition that also need to be followed
Any changes in or re-election of governance roles provide the opportunity to think about how the governance team is comprised and the mix of skills, perspectives and experience that could help it maximise its performance. It is common for governance recruitment to be focused on important technical skills in areas like legal, risk, marketing and financial management. But governance is more than that.
Your Board or Committee will play a strong leadership role for your organisation and sets the tone and culture for everyone to follow, so other skills sets and perspectives are important to consider. Thinking about the organisation’s purpose, its members, and who it works with or serves, it is important to consider whether those voices are sufficiently recognised around the table.
A number of board assessment tools are available, to help balance the need for specialist and broader expertise, to be able to embrace diversity, to consider the size and representation, and identify what gaps may exist that recruitment could focus on.
If your board represents a particular cohort (e.g. refugees; migrants; rural and regional youth etc) it is important to consider having people with ‘lived experience’ or who have received the services of the organisation represented on the organisation’s governance.
Developing a skills matrix can help identify any gaps in experience that recruitment efforts could focus on.
Want more? ... check out these resources
Online article – Institute of Community Directors – 6 minute read
This is a pretty helpful fact sheet on finding new board members but also the skills matrix thinking that should go on before you recruit. It also has handy tips for recruiting new board members.
Online toolkit – Ourcommunty.com.au – Over 10 minutes
A bunch of great topics on board table diversity from the co-lab between Ourcommunity.com.au and the Institute of Community Directors. Topics include: achieving the right mix towards a more diverse board; why diversity on boards makes sense; why boards need more women; how you can help get more women on boards.
Online article – Effective Governance – 5 minute read
This quick article sets out a framework for thinking about Board composition and diversity across four domains – behavioural, governance, technical and industry/sector skills.
Matrix diagram – Philanthropy Australia – 1 minute
Philanthropy Australia has this great little Board skills matrix diagram that gives you a great framework to think about your skills mix and who you need next.