Are expectations on board members too high: most directors think so?

Position:BOARD LEADERSHIP
 
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Sixty percent of directors say that there is a gap between the expectations placed on boards and the reality of the board's ability to oversee a company, according to the 201B Global Board of Directors Survey, released from Professor Boris Groysberg and Yo-Jud Cheng of Harvard Business School, Spencer Stuart, the Women Corporate Directors (WCD) Foundation, and researcher Deborah Bell.

"Directors themselves may be more qualified than ever, but they are facing higher expectations than ever," says Julie Hembrock Daum, head of Spencer Stuart's North American Board Practice. "These expectations are coming from multiple stakeholders--investors, consumers, regulatory bodies, the media--in a climate of unprecedented demands for transparency and accountability. We see directors seeking to stay ahead of these demands and devoting more time to board prep and information gathering."

Several key findings include:

* Disconnect between expectations and reality around board's true oversight ability. Of the 60% of directors who see a gap between the expectations placed on boards and the reality of the board's ability to oversee a company, 64% believe expectations moderately exceeded reality. Strikingly, 25% believed expectations far exceeded reality.

* Boards are seeking out apt skills for new directors. For the most part, boards appear to be adequately matching the skills that they consider most important for board service to the skills that they aimed to acquire in their most recent...

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