What are the attributes of a strategic board?

One of the key barriers impacting the effectiveness of not-for-profit and sporting association boards is a lack of role clarity and a tendency to focus on operational matters rather than the bigger picture and longer term future of the organisation.

Strategy is one of the fundamental roles of the board, with responsibility for:

  • Setting the strategic direction;
  • Approving the strategic plan;
  • Monitoring performance against the plan
  • Aligning decision making to strategy.

Strategic boards are able to demonstrate the following key attributes.

  • Be clear on the purpose of the organisation
  • Take a long term view
  • See the big picture
  • Seek awareness of the forces for change, emergent ideas and technologies
  • Understand the business and what drives the value it creates
  • Plan board composition to enable multiple views and knowledge
  • Be pro-active in the strategy process
  • Engage in listening, questioning, dialogue and analysis
  • Make strategy and strategic conversation an ongoing activity
  • Understand change management
  • Be ready to support management in the leadership of change

By having a clearer understanding of the role of the board and the need to bring a strategic focus to the table, boards will be much more effective in progressing the purpose of their organisation.


What other attributes of a strategic board would you add to this list?

Purpose Driven Performance are governance and strategy specialists across the sport and not-for-profit sector. 

⏳ Governance and board reviews
👥 Board induction, education and training
💡 Strategy development and planning
📊 Performance scorecard to monitor progress against your strategic objectives