How To Run A Successful Business

The Chairwoman or Chairman of a business plays a crucial role in determining its success. They influence the performance of the Board and ensure good governance at all levels. But do businesses value the role of Chair?

The Chair and chief executive have different responsibilities, with the leadership of the Board falling to the former and operational management to the latter.

The Chair must manage Board meetings, capture the contribution of each member and connect with stakeholders and the public.

They should retain independence and make sure the Board and management operate to the highest level in all their dealings and decisions.

The Chair must lead the Board when considering proposals about the future and always be mindful of the shifting landscape.

They should inform and influence strategic business plans while keeping abreast of significant operational aspects of the business.

Given the importance of the role, it is useful to consider the Chair’s responsibilities under the following headings:

Leadership

  • provide leadership to the Board and chief executive
  • clarify and communicate the core vision of the business
  • identify the key issues facing the organisation
  • oversee the setting of performance measures

Values and Culture

  • agree and convey the values of the organisation
  • display an ability for independent and, at times, different thinking
  • commit to corporate governance best practice guidelines
  • embed honesty and fairness in the culture of the business

Working with Board members

  • develop a supportive relationship with individual Board members
  • encourage an inclusive and positive atmosphere at meetings
  • agree an agenda that aligns strategic and operational matters
  • introduce independent and robust audit and risk procedures

Commitment

  • ensure sufficient, but not too much, time is given to Board meetings
  • engage with and involve Board members at and between meetings
  • encourage the spread of a creative and supportive culture

Managing Meetings

  • ensure adherence to good time management
  • invite contributions from all Board members
  • provide opportunity for proposals and recommendations to be challenged
  • summarise decisions made and agree actions to be taken

Personal Skills

  • provide a range of skills and experience that add value to the Board
  • capacity to work with a diverse range of people from different disciplines
  • ability to influence internal and external stakeholders
  • provide leadership within the particular business sector

Company Success

  • oversee the performance of the Board and individual members
  • bring clarity, focus and accountability to the role of chief executive
  • ensure all financial and legal requirements are met

The skills required to be a good Chair may seem simple but the finest are often the most unlikely and unassuming of people.

So, the role of Chair is vital to the success of any business but it is often undervalued which can lead to a dysfunctional and underperforming organisation.