Thursday, June 10, 2010

7 Board Member Types To Avoid!

I was very lucky as a CEO. Overall the 35 board of directors under which I served were excellent. But that experience and serving on more than 100 boards myself have identified 7 styles or types to avoid or confront and replace.sabotage


Creepers can’t tell the difference between management and board governance, waste time second guessing, refuse to abide by job descriptions and try to dilute or hijack the organization’s mission and purpose.

Mad Hatters

Mad Hatters come into board meetings with the hats or responsibilities they have elsewhere. They forget or refuse to put their board member hat on as they enter the room. They typically hijack board meetings or agendas for unrelated or top-of-mind issues or controversies.


Ad-libbers refuse to read, especially preparation or background materials. They insist on being spoon-fed the information during meetings, often raise questions or proposals without any context and waste value time to deal with issues or worse taking discussions completely off topic or in a circle.


Water-carriers bring outside/hidden agendas into the board room. They are predisposed to cabals and conspiracies, disrespective of the organization’s mission and purpose and welfare. They give cover to dissidents trying to end-run decisions or refusing face to face discussion with management or the board as a whole.


Reinventors cycle the board back through old, unrelated or resolved issues over and over and over, often because they haven’t been reading prep or background materials and as a result eating up valuable time, hijacking agendas, disrespecting decisions and diverting energy, often with hopes of wearing others down.


Myopes are myopic or near-sighted, tactical and “little picture.” They can’t see the big picture or beyond that day’s adrenaline rush. They distract boards from a primary duty to be far-sighted and strategic.


Selfers go on boards hoping to represent or fulfill self-interests. They constantly try to guide or divert proposals or decisions to their own benefit or the benefit of other organizations and typically lack a moral or ethical compass.

If you find yourself with one of these conditions, do yourself, the organization and the community a favor. Resign or seek therapy. If you’re on a board and see these conditions in others, confront them as a group immediately and directly.

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