Board members often need some help to build their strategic thinking skills. And that’s not a dig at them.
“Much of their leadership experience may have been in management and operations, so what they focus on is what they know best—management and operations,” says Glenn Tecker, chairman and co-CEO of the leadership consultancy Tecker International.
But as board members, their role is to stick to organizational strategy—and it’s up to CEOs to guide them in that direction. “The chief staff officer needs to make sure the board is out of the operational weeds and focused on leading the organization successfully into the future,” Tecker says.
Keeping the focus on strategy has never been an easy task, and it’s become increasingly difficult since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tecker says he’s seen CEOs grappling with boards that are moving in one of two non-strategic directions over the past year. The first is that they are disengaging or not showing up fully for board meetings. “They’re so much going on in everyone’s lives that it’s difficult for people to focus or to want to dig deep strategically,” he says.