Sourcing The Best-Fit Candidates Into The Boardroom - Susan Chapman-Hughes

Executive boards have started their long-overdue focus on diversity efforts. An unfamiliar territory to many, boards are struggling with onboarding strategies but doing their best to make the appropriate changes. I spoke with the JPM podcast ‘What’s the Deal’ on the changes in the interview and evaluation processes for boards that have come with the organization’s diversity efforts. In this part of the podcast, we discussed how to source the best-fit candidates based on the true business needs of your company.

“Boards today, particularly non-governing committees, have to be extremely thoughtful about the board composition matrix. When you’re looking at that matrix, ask ‘what do we really need?’ You need to have an honest assessment of who needs to be in the room.

Here’s an example: I was talking with a friend of mine who was struggling with trying to fit a specific ‘window dressing’ candidate. I told him to think about what he really needed and we started talking about the business challenges they were having. It turns out that what he really needed was someone who has a strong sourcing background, who has brought digital transformation to functions, and so on. I told him that there are probably 5 people who can be on that list now. Going forward I would advise your team to go through and talk about what the real business need is. That means you have to double down and fully understand the strategy of the business so that you know who you need to bring into the boardroom.

There are some real challenges out there, whether it’s cyber security or supply chains — which are huge issues for many companies right now. Several companies are sitting rudderless because they lack a candidate in the boardroom who could help them develop solutions for the challenges they are currently facing.

It’s nice when you have a diverse mix of people, but it also means that you have to think differently about how you manage your board. If you want someone who is still working in an operating role, you can’t have 4-day board meetings because they can’t afford to spend 4 days away from their day job. People need to be better at reaching out and asking for help, which boards don’t often do. But through the board composition and evaluation processes, they can make some big changes.”

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About Susan: Susan Chapman-Hughes is a connected leader with experience in several industries. As a growth strategist, she transforms traditional businesses into modernized digital models through driving engagement in various sectors and implementing revolutionary expansion strategies. Her interpersonal skills and relatable personality have allowed her to easily build trust and offer a people-centered approach to inclusive, empowering, and energizing leadership. She currently serves as an independent board director for Toast, Inc. and The J.M. Smucker Co.

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