Boards have been characterized as incompetent groups of highly competent individuals. A bit harsh, but the reality is that the intrinsic soundness of governing bodies continues to be taken for granted in spite of rising stakeholder skepticism, heightened scrutiny by investors and donors and an accelerating tempo of litigation. Even in the best of times, a threshold of genuine competence is a precondition for recruiting quality directors and senior executives.
We find that boards can build their capabilities with a commitment to systematically assessing, then dealing with the relative strengths of individual members as well as those of the group as a whole. Such an assessment provides a fact-based platform for ongoing development. We offer a suite of approaches to director assessment ranging from internet-based surveys to personal interviews and facilitated sessions. Their findings, together with the "tools for board development" reflected in our October 2005 article in NACD's Directors Monthly, constitute the basis for our custom development programs.