Does Your Chamber Have the Board It Needs?

Dave Kilby

When you look at common denominators of the chambers that have been soaring during the crazy, whitewater times we’re in, one ingredient that stands out is: they have excellent leadership on their boards of directors.

Since March 2020, many execs have admitted to me that the problem at their chamber is “we don’t have the right kind of leaders on our board to take the chamber where we need to go.”

Peak Performing Board

What are the ingredients of a peak performing board?

Let me try to list some that you want around your board table vs. those you don’t:

• Mission driven NOT micro-managing.

• Engaged and energized NOT resume builders, who rarely show up.

• Willing to risk NOT risk averse.

• Can make decisions quickly NOT bureaucratic and studying things to death.

• Change oriented NOT protectors of the past, who are tradition oriented.

• Data driven NOT just listening to opinions and anecdotes.

• Targeted & focused NOT “all over the map, trying to be all things to all people.”

• Diverse NOT a clique of “good old boys.”

• Successful business leaders NOT a group of “second or third stringers.”

Strategic NOT tactical.

Regional, big picture visionaries NOT parochial.

• Clear understanding of roles and responsibilities NOT “just winging it.”

When I present at Chamber Leaders Workshops and go over the “ABCs of a Successful Chamber,” discussing the above is a major component of the program’s content.

I believe that our job at W.A.C.E. is to help you succeed at your job as a chamber professional.

Critical to Success

However, one of the things that is out of our control is deciding who is “on the bus” and a member of your board. There’s no doubt about it: the decisions of your nominating committee, which, I add, MUST be made with input from the chamber’s chief executive officer, are critical to the success of the chamber.

If your current board members and future candidates embrace and embody the words and phrases in bold above, then, in my opinion, you’re definitely on the right track to soar to success.

Best wishes for a great year ahead!

Dave Kilby is president and CEO of W.A.C.E. and executive vice president of corporate affairs at the California Chamber.