By Jose Ruiz
Jose Ruiz serves as Alder Koten’s Chief Executive Officer providing vision, strategic direction and the roadmap for the firm’s future. He is also involved in executive search work focused on board members, CEOs and senior-level executives; and consulting engagements related to leadership and organizational effectiveness helping clients create thriving cultures.
The corporate board members are influential in a company culture in ways that many don’t realize. They foster long-term shareholder values with their agenda and management decisions, which are aligned with the company vision, philosophy, and direction. At lower levels, the corporate board affects how business strategies are implemented.
Understanding the strategic roles of the corporate board is crucial, so both the management and other stakeholders can align their actions and activities in achieving the long-term goals. There are at least five specific roles that a corporate board own, which are influential to the company culture.
First, stewarding roles.
The board members exemplify the highest part of the company totem pole who are stewarding the company and the stakeholders. As a “steward,” the primary role is supervising and taking care of the needs of those below them. They serve as the umbrella holder and the umbrella itself throughout the existence of the company. They serve the CEO, the management, and the stakeholders with their wisdom and extensive experiences in their respective fields and the industry.
Second, value-sharing roles.
Culture is not an aspiration or a written slogan posted on the wall. It is the culmination of shared beliefs, values, and mindsets that have been circulating non-stop and influencing everything from simple behaviors to complex decision-making activities and actions. The board members are more than the mascot or mere symbol of such culmination; they are responsible for disseminating a favorable ambiance throughout the organization and beyond.
Third, setting-the-tone roles.
Sharing values through behaviors and business decisions requires the board members to set the tone well and vice versa. Since they are not directly involved in the day-to-day operations, they are obliged to directly affect the CEO and the management with their influences. Using orchestra as an analogy, the board members must conduct with precision for the rhythm and the melody.
Fourth, dimensional-management roles.
The board members influence the culture of the company with directions, which can be observed through attitudes. They must show attitudes that are inviting change, independent, collaborative, positive, and innovative. When the company’s direction changes, the board members should adapt, be flexible, and provide the new direction while at the same time adhering to the existing philosophy and ideology. They are aware of the multiple dimensions an incident have and show the CEO and the management how to cope with them.
Fifth, inspiring roles.
Every member of the corporate board must be an inspiring source for the organization. Their wisdom, knowledge and extensive experiences combined with strong soft skills should bring a breath of fresh air. They have the so-called unwritten roles to be inspiring. Moreover, when the organization is positive and productive, the stakeholders and the shareholders can expect to gain favorably as well.
At last, the culture of a company is greatly affected by how the members of the board of directors think and act. Being a member of the board is a privilege and an honor unlike any other because the whole organization’s culture is literally in your hands.
About Alder Koten
Alder Koten helps shape organizations through a combination of research, executive search, cultural & leadership assessment, and other talent advisory services. The firm was founded in 2011 and currently includes 6 partners and over 28 consultants in 4 cities. The firm’s headquarters are located in Houston and it has offices in Guadalajara, Monterrey, and Mexico City with partner firms in New York, Boston, Chicago, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Hong Kong, Italy, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, and United Kingdom. We know where to find the executives you need and how to attract top talent to your organization. Our approach to executive search is based on a thorough understanding of the strategic, cultural, financial and operational issues our clients face. Our executive search engagements are targeted and focused on the specific requirements of the position including industry and functional experience, skills, competencies, cultural fit, and leadership style. Our process is rigorous. We take a disciplined and structured approach to identifying potential candidates that meet the position requirements including subject-matter, functional and regional expertise. We use our high-level professional networks, industry knowledge, and internal research resources to achieve results in every executive search engagement.