Desirable Personal Attributes Of Board Members

What characteristics do you look for in a potential board member?

To effectively address the needs of an emerging enterprise, the most effective board members will exhibit the following personal qualities:

  • Emotional stability – with EGO in control
  • Strong interpersonal communication skills
  • Pattern recognition skills – “ability to sense trouble ahead of time”
  • Ability to partner
  • Investment and hands on operating experience
  • A strong network of business contacts
  • Ability to mentor the CEO
  • Ability to view problems from multiple viewpoints include the “customer point of view”

This list came from a great paper I have just read from Levensohn Venture Partners (LVP)website entitled “After the Term Sheet : How venture boards influence technology companies” a link to the full paper is here, its worth a read.

Another great extract from this insightful document was a list of why boards fail.

10 Common Pitfalls of Boards

1. Complacency – Inability to confront difficult issues
2. In-Decisiveness
3. Distraction and over-commitment
4. Divisiveness on the Board
5. Paralysis over liability issues
6. Board Member role confusion
7. Leadership vacuum
8. Loss of trust –respect in the CEO or other board members
9. Resolution to fail
10. Misalignment of interests between Board Members and investors


They also have a great agenda item for your next board meeting : “what are the 3 top issues facing your business?”, often boards can fall into the trap of just ticking the boxes and following the standard agenda

LVP  have another great white paper on their web site  ”Rites of  passage: Managing CEO transition”. Both these papers come from the angle of a VC backed company but work for any emerging business and a worth a read.

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