A skills matrix, also called a competency matrix, maps the required and desired skills for a board to successfully deliver its corporate mission. The skills matrix is a visual tool that clearly identifies the required, available and missing skills and competencies in a board. This is why it is widely used by Nominations Committee in their succession planning. In this blog, we explore how skills matrix can be leveraged to have the right people in a company’s boardroom.
Skills matrix and board refreshment
Effective boards have the right people in the boardroom i.e. the right mix of skills are represented. What “right” means is unique to each board as it reflects the corporate mission, culture and long-term strategy.
The skills matrix allows Nominations Committees and/or the Board to identify weaknesses in the current composition of the board and gaps in competencies and skills which may prevent companies to deliver on their strategy and corporate mission.
While the skills matrix process may seem administrative, the conversations around its establishment are very important as board members have to review existing skills, think through the strategy and the future of the company and assess whether the skills required to deliver on the long-term strategy are represented on the board.
The discussions aim at ensuring that the board is sufficiently diverse and possesses the set of experiences that will provide value to the company.
The skills matrix process will inform the decision to recruit new NEDs on the board or replace incumbent NEDs.
Related post: Succession Planning, Board Best Practice®
Skills matrix and cross-generational considerations
The 2018-2019 Annual Edition of the Gartner’s Top Insights for the C-Suite reports that 87% of senior business leaders say that digitalisation is a company priority and 66% of CEOs expect their company to change its business model in the next three years as a result. As businesses scale their digital capabilities and figure out their digital strategy, boards should make sure that digital expertise is represented in the boardroom. This will likely call for cross-generational representation on the boards and the appointment of young non-executive directors, that may not have the broad business experience of seasoned executives but will bring a different set of experiences, as valuable to the company.
Related post: NEDonBoard calls for board to appoint younger non-executive directors to refresh their composition
Skills matrix and behavioural skills
Behavioural skills should be part of the skills matrix as boardroom dynamics will be impacted by the personalities and behavioural types in the boardroom. NEDs and other board members should fit with the board and corporate culture.
NEDonBoard recommends that the following attributes be considered:
- Emotional intelligence
- Listening skills
- Ethical standards
- Chemistry with other board members
- Willingness and ability to devote time to non-executive director responsibilities
Related post: Top 5 skills of a good NED; Boardroom dynamics
Written by Elise Perraud, NEDonBoard COO
If you are a young professional looking to support organisations in refreshing their board composition, we have designed the NED Accelerator Programme for you. Visit the course page to find out what you will gain and what alumni and non-executive directors say about the programme.
This makes complete sense, having spent an eye-opening & uplifting last 4 years, encouraging the move from semi-digital (i.e. paper sent by email) to digital by default, where whole transactions can be conducted, safely, online – not forgetting that the “digitally disconnected” should still be able to access services, for instance by printing the digitally enabled norm.
The move to better digital is most often identified by those with experience, but invariably actually done by those younger and more skilled in digital provision.
It’s critical that the transaction processes are understood and that both the experienced & the facilitators can listen; talk & manage the process for the benefit of both customer & service provider.
While my experiences have emanated from my role as a County Councillor, and have been particularly rewarding during Covid-19, I have little doubt that there are many companies who would benefit from a customer viewpoint analysis when looking for improved digitisation by appropriately skilled individuals on their board – all with the aim of improving both business efficiency & customer service.