Front and center in the news the last few days has been the drama around Elon Musk joining Twitter’s Board of Directors.  The controversy has to do primarily with Musk’s alignment (or non-alignment) with the values and culture of the Twitter family. 

Whether your organization is for profit or not-for-profit, it raises an interesting question:  What is the role of your Board of Directors?  Is it to hold an organization accountable to the stated vision and mission of the organization?  Is it to bring to the table alternative ideas that might help inform its direction? Is it to simply manage financial oversight so that investors get a return on their investments?  Hold management in check? 

More questions follow – who is responsible for recruiting new Board members?  Do we have the right balance of expertise represented? What are the criteria and skills the Board needs to be most effective in meeting its responsibilities?

It makes a great deal of sense for the organization and the Board to answer all of these questions before bringing on new members. It is also important that employees understand their roles as well — before chaos ensues, not after.  Designing a comprehensive Board orientation, offering ongoing training and looking for opportunities to develop the organization’s culture are all critical factors in helping your Board become effective leaders that make decisions that true to organizational mission and vision.

Many, if not all, of these tasks can be addressed – and managed —  by the organization’s public relations staff.  It is there that the organization’s relationships, across the board, are considered, monitored and maintained (when possible).  When PR provides counsel to the C-suite, it should include paying attention to the make-up and function of the Board.  Anticipate issues and avoid a crisis situation by stepping in early –before your organization steps in something much worse.

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