Serving on a board of directors means a lot of learning on the go, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t resources for boards that want to improve. Whether they’re sought out individually or as a team, board member training options can provide directors with even more specialization and confidence in their leadership abilities.
- If you’re a first time board member, look for guidance.
Being a first time board member can be an intimidating experience. You’re learning the ins and outs of corporate governance as well as the basics of parliamentary procedure all while guiding an organization. Walking into a director’s role without any formal training isn’t impossible, but it’s not an easy task either. Whether you’re joining a local nonprofit board or the board for a large corporation, there are tools that can help you become better prepared. For nonprofit members, you can easily find free online training courses like the ones at nonprofitready.org. For-profit board members can attend in-person training events with outstanding organizations like the National Association for Corporate Directors, which offers a 3-day course specifically for new directors.
- Internal training is key.
Before looking at external training options, be sure that your internal training processes are benefiting your board’s development. Consider creating a training curriculum that will help new board members understand your internal practices as well as the current state of the organization that you serve. As The Bridge Span group shares, “Give new board members the training you wish you’d had as a newcomer.” Rather than expecting them to learn everything on the fly, “a better strategy is for the board to set a deliberate program for board education to ensure that all members have the tools they need to properly govern.”
- External training offers benefits, too.
There are tons of consulting groups that focus on helping boards build or rebuild their corporate governance strength. These organizations charge for their services, but for companies whose boards are struggling or about to face a major challenge, it can be well worth the price tag. External consulting evaluation often gives directors a fresh and much needed perspective regarding the state of their leadership and the future of their board.
- Ask board members what they need.
When all else fails, ask board members if they feel like they need training in any specific areas. For instance, perhaps your board leans heavily to financial expertise, and you need to collectively brush up on your knowledge of cyber security. Give board members the opportunity to hone their overall abilities by strengthening their grasp of particular topics.