Results of the 2008 Board Special Survey Report

What are the Behavioural Competencies of an Effective Board Member?

Why did we initiate this survey?

For the past 12 years, Korn/Ferry International and Patrick O’Callaghan & Associates have worked successfully together to recruit Board Directors for a broad range of Canadian businesses.

We have served as keen observers of and advisors to Board Chairs, and Human Resources and Nominating Committees in the identification and selection of board members. Today, Canadian boards are paying thoughtful attention to the appropriate skills and experience matrix required at their respective tables. While this has become a very important element in Director selection, we believe most boards pay little attention to how their composition can be enhanced by a better understanding and defi nition of the key behavioural competencies of an ideal Director.

Over the past decade, Korn/Ferry has committed significant research resources to identifying executive and board leadership skills and competencies. Korn/Ferry’s acquisition of Lominger International in 2006 provided us with additional research and expertise on executive competencies originally developed by Lominger International’s founders Michael M. Lombardo and Robert W. Eichinger. These competencies were identified following a comprehensive analysis of multiple research sources, including fi ndings from the Centre for Creative Leadership, plus longer-term studies conducted by AT&T and Sears. The result was the creation of a library of leadership competencies (67 in all) each with its own behavioural description and developmental tips.

Since the development of this competency library in the 1990’s, research has continued to reinforce its validity, establish norms, and look for emerging leadership competencies. This library is now considered the most comprehensive in the field of leadership.

Korn/Ferry experts, in collaboration with Patrick O’Callaghan & Associates, used findings from our proprietary library and modified them appropriately for boards. From this, in order to be a valued and effective board member, 21 key behavioural competencies were carefully defined. These 21 competencies were presented in a special survey to 204 corporate Directors across Canada. Each survey participant was asked to rank the competencies in groups of 7 ranging from “critical” to “important” to “less important”.