Joining a board can be a daunting experience. Aside from the fact you are now part of the governing body for a company/organisation with attendant governance responsibilities, there are a myriad of basic things to tick off your To Do list.
- If you were not elected to the board at an AGM, then it’s a good idea to ensure you received an offer in writing to join the board that spelt out the terms and conditions of your appointment. Are you paid, can you claim expenses, how does this work?
- Did you reply to the letter affirming your consent to join the board? Did you supply the necessary information (full name, date of birth, place of birth and current address) for the company secretary to complete the appropriate form for the regulator (ASIC, ACNC, APRA). Did you supply a professional headshot and bio for the website or for the media release announcing your appointment?
- Do you know when your first meeting will be and how you will get the board papers – is there a shared drive or are they still on email? Do you need a company email address to access the shared drive and what are the security protocols around accessing confidential company information? Are there any protocols – a potential alarm bell for you.
- Have you received at the very minimum:
- Current board and organisation policies and procedures.
- A list of board and committee meeting dates and any other board days – such as strategic planning days.
- Access to the previous board minutes / information.
- An organisational chart and contacts for board members and senior staff.
- Invitation to meet with CEO and tour the busines, facilities, premises that are owned and/or operated by the organisation.
- Opportunity to meet / say hello to key staff (CFO, COO, CRO, CHO).
- A meetings or call with the Chair and, possibly, Committee Chairs.
- Heads up on any outstanding staff issues or current legal actions or disputes (these should have been disclosed during discovery, but it never hurts to check)
- The current insurance policies carried by the organisation (as per above)
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but will assist you as you navigate your way in your new board role.
The key thing to remember is that it's up to you to ASK when you are not receiving the necessary information. Be proactive and ensure you are well set up from the outset.