Board Development

Get more value from your corporate governance

The Challenge

With consumers, employees, regulators, and the public demanding greater transparency and accountability from private enterprise, and global competition requiring increasingly sophisticated strategic guidance and risk management, family enterprises are under pressure to professionalize and optimize their boards.

Despite this felt need, there are few trusted resources available to help families develop the processes, policies and leaders needed to support a truly value-added board.

Additionally, many families take for granted the importance of investing in the professional development of their senior executives, even though their board directors have a critical role to play in driving the company’s long-term success. Others fear that altering the board’s composition or authority may upset the balance of power among shareholders and unleash complex family dynamics. Still, others worry that incorporating independent directors may diminish the influence and stature of the family and unnecessarily compromise the family’s privacy or legacy.

Complicating matters further, many family enterprises don’t just have one board, but a whole system of interrelated operational boards and committees that report into a holding company. Carefully aligning their functions, composition, and authority is essential for continuity but also requires extreme care.

To help you navigate the complex issues associated with board development, LGA has created an integrated advisory suite dedicated to family enterprise boards.

The LGA Governance Audit

LGA’s Governance Audit gathers the data necessary to generate a comprehensive recommendation for the design of your family enterprise governance, whether you are a family business, a family office, or a family foundation.

This data is based on interviews and surveys with all key stakeholders, a review of related governance documentation, and input from other advisors who support your governance system and its members.

The LGA Governance Audit takes roughly 1-2 months to complete, including all data gathering, analysis, feedback, and action planning with your key leadership team.

You will emerge from our Governance Audit with a clear set of recommendations for optimizing your family governance system, with a particular focus on the roles, responsibilities, and composition of the board and its interface with the business and the family. This will include a tailored action plan that will ensure your board is well-designed for today and well-prepared for the future.

board development

The LGA 360° Board Assessment

Often building on the interviews conducted during a Governance Audit, many chairs and CEOs request our constructive feedback on the board and its members. LGA’s 360° Board Assessment tool provides a means for you to generate objective data that will support critical conversations about individual and team performance.

Using a proprietary online tool, LGA advisors gather feedback on each director from other stakeholders as well as a self-assessment. We discuss the resulting data confidentially with each director and then meet with the chair or designated committee to review the data and discuss its implications for overall board design and operation. We then help the board implement any recommended changes, including drafting new processes and policies or supporting the recruitment and replacement of directors.

LGA’s 360° Board Assessment tool empowers the professional development of your individual Board members.

  • Reviewing existing contingency plans and creating them if none exist
  • Discussing your timetable for transition
  • Designing and launching a transition team to manage the complex succession process
  • Conducting a strategic analysis of your family enterprise’s future leadership needs
  • Designing a comprehensive program to develop and evaluate rising-gen leaders
  • Supporting the selection process for future leaders and helping communicate the results of that process with all key stakeholders
  • Planning meaningful roles and activities for senior leaders after they have transitioned out of active leadership

The LGA Board Jumpstart

Our LGA Board Jumpstart program helps families accelerate the development of a new Board or the performance of an existing board. In partnership with your leadership team, an LGA advisor will join your board as a ‘quasi-independent director’ with the mandate and skills needed to support the evolution of your board.

Your LGA advisor will:

  • Develop an understanding of your strategy and continuity plans
  • Review the seasonal agenda and schedule of meetings, board protocols, Committee charters, and selection and assessment processes
  • Analyze the roles and skills necessary for the board to function effectively
  • Ensure that strategy and risk management are central parts of the board’s agenda
  • Develop a board prospectus to help recruit Independent and family directors
  • Coach the chair on facilitating board meetings to encourage constructive debate and effective decision-making
  • Coach family directors on how to add unique value and voice to board discussions
  • Ensure that the board is planning for executive development and leadership succession

LGA’s Board Jumpstart will help you tailor and experiment with new governance designs before fully committing to change and provide you with boots-on-the-ground support to ensure that your board upgrades are successful.

Want to learn more?

Case Study

on campus learning

Case Study: Sustaining Engagement in a Cousins Consortium

Three third-generation Family Directors of a large enterprising family were attending a global conference focused on innovation and growth. Their 90-year old family had deep pride and gratitude for the success and leadership of previous generations. However, there were no family members currently working actively in the business, and the family’s only connection to their vast operations — which spanned eight industries and three continents — was limited to these three members of the Board.

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In light of the many crises that haunt the daily news cycle, there is one segment of the corporate landscape that seems to be weathering the storm better than most: family businesses.

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Governing the Family Enterprise

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