Going for Gold: Global Board Culture and Director Behaviors Survey

Industry TrendsBoard and CEO AdvisoryBoard EffectivenessBoard Director and Chair Search
Article Icon News Article
2 read
Industry TrendsBoard and CEO AdvisoryBoard EffectivenessBoard Director and Chair Search

The Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation published a bylined article, “Enhancing Director Performance and Impact,” authored by Russell Reynolds Associates Consultants Jack "Rusty" O'Kelley III and Anthony Goodman, based on our firm paper. The article is excerpted below.

Based on our experience working with hundreds of boards each year, we know board and director performance depends on the quality of board leadership, the ability of the board to focus on the right issues and a small number of critical director behaviors. Our latest research backs this up.

The link between critical director behaviors and higher company performance was evidenced in our second Global Board Culture and Director Behaviors Survey, completed by 750 corporate (supervisory board-level) directors of large public companies worldwide. This data provides a roadmap for driving improvement in board effectiveness and, potentially, corporate performance.

This post focuses on understanding a group of boards we call “Gold Medal Boards”—those that rate themselves as operating in a highly effective manner and that oversee a high-performing company (one that has outperformed relevant total shareholder return (TSR) benchmarks for two or more years consecutively). When we look at the data for this group and compare it to the broader population of boards, the differences are clear. These boards spend the same amount of time on their work as the global peer set, but prioritize more strategic, longer-term and forward-looking discussions. Their directors are more likely to seek to understand other perspectives, focus on being present at meetings and build deep relationships with management and investors. Gold Medal Board chairs lead differently too—demonstrating behaviors that foster and facilitate higher-quality debates in the boardroom.

To read the full article, click here.