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The Official Consultancy Specialists

Solutions – Board Evaluation and Reviews

Better Boards is specialised in working with executive, governing and supervisory boards, their executives and their leadership teams – because this is where any organisation sets its course for value creation.

The Better Board´s Board Evaluation and Review approach is evidence-based, comprehensive, action-oriented, efficient, and has a substantial international track record. The criteria used relate directly to how the board and Executive Committee can create even greater value, and do not address any generic criteria that could apply to any organisation at any level.

The approach uses one-to-one interviews and an innovative, resource-friendly online tool that takes on board feedback from the broadest possible range of respondents, enabling a fully comprehensive and objective analysis.

What makes boards and Executive Committees effective? What enables them to create maximum value for their organisations? Better Boards is widely credited for having identified the seven hallmarks of effective boards, i.e., the levers members of boards and Executive Committees can pull to be more impactful and effective. The variables are the fruit of detailed and cutting edge desk and empirical research, together with diverse and practical experience. They form the basis of the Better Boards Board Evaluation and Review approach.

What is the output?

At the end of the evaluation Better Boards delivers four documents that summarise the results and the action plan:

  • An aggregated group report containing a comprehensive analysis, provided to all team members.
  • An individualised report provided for each individual participant.
  • An individual action plan for each team member, drawn up by Better Boards in collaboration with the individual concerned.
  • A group action plan for the whole team, drawn up by Better Boards in collaboration with a representative of the organisation like the General Counsel/Company Secretary.

All feedback is completed anonymously. Interpretation is objective and based entirely on the data and facts obtained from the evaluation.

Why does it matter?

Ultimate responsibility for the success of the company lies with the board and senior management, however, corporate development programmes often exclude these groups. Most standard programmes are not designed for the board and senior management but are suitable for lower levels of management. Yet, this is the group who is most crucial for the value creation process in the organisation.

In practice, many boards and senior management teams address this shortfall either by sharing information and experience with other people performing similar roles or by finding someone within their social circle with whom they can discuss issues that concern them.

It is much more difficult for an active board member to review the status quo, identify strengths and weaknesses and find areas for improvement than it is for an outside specialist. Big changes must be instigated by an external party with specialised expertise and knowledge to identify the right levers that need to be pulled. Without systematic and professional support provided by external experts, well-intentioned initiatives can soon stall and fail.

What is in it for you?

The Better Boards evaluation and development programme is designed to provide value and distinctive benefits for the individual executive, the organisation and their investors:

Benefits for the individual participants

  • Our programmes equip participants with an in-depth understanding of the hallmarks of effective boards/Executive Committees. Each hallmark is a lever which executives can pull to become more impactful and contribute to a more effective board/Executive Committee.
  • Our reports provide participants with unique and specific insights into how they are perceived in their role as a member of the board or Executive Committee. The reports present the data in a concise format and level of detail they have never seen before.
  • The results are invaluable for developing their executive/non-executive board career and help to bring out the best in themselves.
  • The results provide individual participants with the opportunity to align how they see themselves as well as how their colleagues and peers see them.
  • Our participants gain a better understanding of their strengths, how these relate to their work on the board/in Executive Committees and how they can best leverage them.
  • Our participants learn how to accelerate their personal development at the top of the organisation in a goal-oriented manner.

Benefits for the Organisation

Organisations enjoy a myriad of benefits by working with us because Better Boards:

  • Provides a better understanding of the variables that make boards, Executive Committees and their leadership teams more effective. Executives and non-executives, therefore, know where to start to be more impactful, improve performance and contribute to creating even greater value to the organisations they serve.
  • Shows whether the boards and Executive Committees have the right combination of know-how areas, role behaviours and what they should look out for when recruiting additional members to the board/Executive Committee to best complement the existing team.
  • Exposes strengths on the boards and Executive Committees and reduces the risk of conflict, and unsuitable appointments and task delegations.
  • Establishes a feedback culture within the board/Executive Committee, based on which their members can work together more constructively.
  • Helps to establish more effective working processes at top decision-making levels within organisations.
  • Reduces the risk of losing top-talent and expertise undermining value creation.
  • Reduces dependence on external consultants as stronger boards and committees can resolve their issues themselves.

Benefits for Private Equity firms

Private Equity firms enjoy a broad range of benefits by working with us because Better Boards:

  • Improves their position vis-à-vis their investors (Limited Partners).
  • Reduces risk.
  • Can pay back loans acquired for transactions faster due to faster yield generation.
  • Sets themselves apart from their competitors.
  • Brings about an improved starting position for the next fundraising event.
  • Strengthens their position as reputable partners for senior investment managers.

Better Boards provides its services to boards and management teams of portfolio companies and offers training for investment managers. The training units provide the necessary expertise required for being more impactful in the boardroom, working with management teams effectively, improving performance and implementing the value creation plan quickly, sustainably and seamlessly.

The Private Equity Perspective

The requirements for executive boards and other senior management levels in companies owned by private equity investors generally differ from those of other companies.

Investors typically rely on shorter periods to implement their investments and have higher yield expectations. Private equity firms generally appoint a new chairman of the board or managing director/CEO early in the transaction process and frequently appoint so-called “Serial CEOs.” These directors assemble their teams from internal and new managers, resulting in a constellation of experienced and inexperienced individuals.

Leadership personalities must, therefore, operate under exceptionally high pressure to create value within a short timeframe. They have to learn how to establish an effective working relationship in the committees between managers with private equity experience and others that are not used to deal with Anglo-Saxon managers and investors.

Leadership personalities must ensure that senior management, investors and the board work together in a coordinated and effective fashion.

Leadership personalities must also implement successful change management when, for example, the business model is modified, parts of the companies are acquired or split off, new markets are explored, or cost-cutting programmes are implemented.

The Better Boards has a track record of working with Private Equity firms.

Example of contributions we made when working with Private Equity firms and their portfolio companies:

  • Helped to define the characteristics of CEOs, other board member and senior executives to best complement the existing team.
  • Facilitated quick and effective integration of new CEOs, other board members, and senior executives.
  • Helped to create value creation programmes.
  • Developed personal and board action plans that are linked to the value creation plan.
  • Improved communication and collaboration between the parties.
  • Helped to create and/or improve mutual trust and interaction between the parties.
  • Ensured that parties share the same goals and a common vision.
  • Helped leadership committees to focus their energies on achieving goals and creating immediate and sustainable value.

What do our clients say?

“I was sceptical, because we’d already had all sorts of consultants here. But it was really good, because all the critical points that affect our work here on the Executive Board were touched on, and everyone has a personal action plan which he or she can implement.”
(Executive board member – MDAX)

”Without this process we would’ve just complained about things, and might even have become personal.”
(CEO – MDAX)

“I’ve never thought so intensely about my work on the board. I’ve become aware of a number of things, and interaction with our investor is now so much more enjoyable.”
(CEO – Mittelstand with Private Equity Investor)

“Now I understand my colleagues much better. Our communication has become more effective, and we’re also more transparent and open with each other. I now feel that it’s back to being much more about the company as a whole, and that we’re no longer wasting our time fretting about each other.”
(COO – Mittelstand with Private Equity Investor)

”I now understand what I have to do to be a really good member of the board. I know that I will benefit from these insights in the years to come.”
(COO – MDAX)

The Seven

HALLMARKS OF EFFECTIVE BOARDS

Hover your mouse over a number to read more.

Composition of the board.

Ability to use the strengths of individual board members.

Clarity of roles and responsibilities.

Common vision.

Ability to mediate conflict between governing bodies and operational management.

Structure and organisation of the work of the board.

Regular reflection about the work of the board.

For Boards and Executive Committees that want to achieve more...

We apply our research-based insights of the ‘Seven Hallmarks’ of effective boards which proved to generate measurable business results, are peer-reviewed and published in the US, the UK and across Europe.

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