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What Is a Board of Directors?

A board of directors is a body which supervises the activities of a corporation, a non-profit organization, or a government agency. It determines the company’s governance policies, management, and other aspects and is typically members who are both insiders and familiar with the internal workings of the organization and professionals who are not part of it but are experts in a particular subject. It also chooses officers, for example, a president and others with titles like vice-president, vice chair or a combined secretary/treasurer. A board could have strict rules governing director conduct, and could also impose fitness-to-serve requirements. Directors can also be fired and implement disciplinary measures for fiduciary duty violations or other infractions.

A board of directors could be like the rhythm section of the business. It gives direction and oversight, while the Executive and CEO staff focus on the day-to-day challenges of the business and develop a strategies. In an ideal situation, a board would collaborate with the CEO to advance the business while posing tough questions regarding the specifics of the operation.

The ideal board members will possess a wide range of skills and a strong desire for the growth of the organization. They must be able to learn quickly and think on the instantaneously. They should be able react to events and emotions in ways that are supportive of the company. And, finally they must be able to perform well in a group setting.


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