With the Presidential elections just one year away, talk of “leadership” is in the air. But leadership is not confined to the White House or the helms of companies. You can find leaders wherever things are getting done—including the boardroom.
Boards hire and develop company leaders. That is what CEO succession is all about. Furthermore, boards and committees have their own leaders. I’m pleased to announce that this month NACD will release two reports on the topic of board leadership. First out will be an entirely new Blue Ribbon Commission report on the Effective Lead Director, explaining how this often-misunderstood role can function best. Shortly after that, we’ll publish an updated edition of our original BRC report on Board Leadership, the first ever to present the board as a “system of leadership.”
Ultimately, beneath titles, roles and systems, leadership comes from within. True leadership requires courage, a quality we see in the profile of Dr. Reatha Clark King (see page 11), who has served as a leader throughout her career—as a college president, founda- tion chair, corporate director and committee chair.
I am proud to say that Dr. King chairs the NACD board’s governance committee as a volunteer director. When asked why she serves on boards, she replied, “Board work fundamentally helps to improve how corporations work, which helps shareholders, employees and the economy—our standing in the world. I can’t think of anything…that can have a greater impact.” She is right—to a point. Even more important than our boards, in my view, is the very spirit of leadership that animates directors like her—and all of you, I hope—to make a positive difference.
Kenneth Daly is president and CEO of the National Association of Corporate Directors.