Added Perspective

Global Board Culture Survey

October 26, 2016

By Russell Reynolds Associates

During the summer of 2016, 369 corporate (supervisory) large public company directors from a dozen countries participated in Russell Reynolds Associates’ Global Board Culture Survey. The goal of the survey was to better understand the director behaviors that create a high-performing board culture and drive board effectiveness.


Directors around the world were surprisingly consistent in the top five behaviors they named as key to a strong culture and an effective board. The survey showed that the attributes that define an effective director transcend cultural and national differences. Five key director behaviors:

  1. Possess the courage to do the right thing for the right reasons
  2. Willing to constructively challenge management, when appropriate
  3. Demonstrate sound business judgment
  4. Ask the right questions
  5. Possess independent perspective and avoid "group think"

Although survey participants agreed on the five key director behaviors, the survey also revealed that only the most effective and well-led boards were able to successfully incorporate the desired director behaviors into how the board actually operates. When we analyzed the actual observed behaviors of the most effective boards we surveyed, we identified three characteristics that drive an effective culture built upon the most important behaviors:

  1. A chair who is an effective facilitator
  2. Long-term time horizon for strategic decisions
  3. Strong relationships with senior management 

The most effective boards successfully blend the five key director behaviors as the foundation of an effective culture, and are differentiated in the way they operate by the three drivers of effectiveness.


To read the full survey report from Russell Reynolds Associates, click here



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