CEOs and Boards: 5 Ways to Enhance Their Relationship


By Staff Reports

(DGIwire) – Satisfying many different stakeholders is a major component of running a company—and the board of directors is one of those key stakeholders. Leveraging the board’s diverse experience not only can guide implementation of a CEO’s long-term growth strategies but can also enhance the leadership skills of the CEO and his or her executive team. Nick Clark, CEO of Alexium International, a specialty chemicals manufacturer, recently writing in Chief Executive magazine, identified five ways to create positive experiences with the board so that executives in the C-suite can effectively execute their goals:

  • Understand boundaries and define roles. The best boards realize they are not in charge of daily execution but function as advisors with valuable big-picture expertise, notes Clark. Boards need to trust the CEO to make smart decisions; conflict is bound to arise when boards don’t govern but start to micromanage.
  • Use the board as a sounding board. According to Clark, executives need to surround themselves with advisors who bring expertise where the CEO has gaps or low bandwidth. Consulting with a well-assembled board, he suggests, can decrease the need for outside vendors/consultants less dedicated to the company.
  • Make use of the board’s Rolodex. When CEOs want to grow their business, asks Clark, who better to call upon than their board? It is worthwhile to know who to go to on a company’s board to ask for advice and make use of them, he adds, noting that the Alexium board has been instrumental in generating new leads.
  • Ensure the board exhibits flexibility, skill and open minds. In Clark’s view, given the dynamic nature of modern companies, today’s priorities may differ significantly from tomorrow. He suggests planning ahead for success and failure alike, and making sure the board has the flexibility and skills to adapt.
  • Maintain a close relationship between chairman and CEO. Building an effective and progressive company requires mutual trust between chairman and CEO, Clark notes. Without this, he writes, companies are stalled in their quest for progress and riddled with overly political complications.

Clark’s insights have been fueled by his experiences at Alexium, which develops next-generation chemicals that balance fire protection with ecological safety. Its processes and products are intentionally designed to meet exacting requirements for safety and environmental sustainability. While its products feature an environmentally friendly mix of chemicals, they remain lightweight and durable. For example, one of its products, Alexiflam NF, is a reactive, halogen-free, phosphorus-based product that can stand up to 50+ washes and is specifically designed for cotton and cotton blends often found in products such as workwear, apparel and upholstery.

Alexium also developed a chemical solution designed for its military division called Alexiflam FR, a durable and ecofriendly chemical formulation that works well with nylon/cotton blends, which are typical for products like military uniforms. In addition to uniforms, Alexium’s chemistries have been developed to protect military tents, backpacks, tactical gear and accessories.

“Overall, boards should be regularly evaluated to ensure they are optimally positioned to bring the company’s future forward for the long term,” Clark adds.

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