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Fact Book: Doing Business in Maine 2020

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W W W. M A I N E B I Z . B I Z 59 Fact Book / Doing Business in Maine B U S I N E S S R E S O U R C E S H OW TO B Y W A R D G R A F F A M B Y W A R D G R A F F A M A good board can provide a competi- tive advantage to your business. Companies need to periodically evaluate what skills they need on their board. A properly constructed and informed board can become a com- petitive advantage for the company. In order to evaluate that potential, one key question for management is whether the organization has a "skills inventory" of its key personnel and of its board members. at inventory is important for manage- ment to understand the skills of the vari- ous key executives and board members and whether those skills are adequate to achieve its mission. 1. Vetting qualifications: As part of the skills inventory process you should request a CV or resume of your potential board members before they join the board. Not only does that help in vetting the qualifications of any potential board members and in matching up those qualifications with the organizations' needs, it also provides the basis for a well thought out summary of those qualifica- tions for use on your organizations' website. A brief description of the board member, their background and their current expertise serves several purposes. First, it is an excellent mar- keting piece to show-case the depth of expertise at the board level and available to management. Second, it shows the types of experience valued by management and investors. Finally, it becomes an easy vehicle to categorize and access those skills. 2. Understanding the board member's role: Board members need a clear understanding of their role. A board orientation program helps put those roles in context. Many board mem- bers become so involved in the details of the business that they actually become disruptive of the process. A board members' job is not to assume management's role of running the business — that is why you hired a CEO. Rather, part of their job is to give advice on policy and strategic issues that have an overarching impact on the business. Without a clear understanding of those roles, valuable management time can be wasted debating conflicting views of how par- ticular decisions should be handled. 3. The right questions: Technology is undoubtedly important to your com- pany. Let's assume this area is critical for the company. Is any board mem- ber really familiar with the discipline? IT can be problematic for a company, particularly when its technology is being changed. A board member is not responsible for the details of technology issues, but it can be help- ful if he or she has enough back- ground to ask the right questions. 4. Strategic insights: Your board and their experience can be extremely helpful in the strategic planning pro- cess. I do not necessarily mean helpful as part of developing the organiza- tion's strategic plan itself — that is management's job. Rather, your board can provide valuable insights and critique of the strategic plan once it is developed and can test it against the organization's vision, mission and key objectives before it is implemented. e right board members can, indeed, provide your organization with a com- petitive advantage. Wa r d G r a f f a m w a s t h e f o u n d i n g c h a i r m a n o f t h e M a i n e I n te r n a t i o n a l Tra d e Center, and served as chairman a n d C E O o f U N U M U K and chairman of FINEOS in Dublin. He can be reached at wgraffam @ Strengthen your board and improve your competitive edge Westbrook works for Rock Row! They truly understand public-private partnerships, speed to execution and the importance of a clear path and delivery. " " Josh Levy, Principal, Waterstone Properties Group, Inc. Daniel Stevenson Economic Development Director City of Westbrook 207-591-8101 C o n t a c t u s t o d a y t o s e e h o w W e s t b r o o k W o r k s f o r Y o u ! 200 200 IDEAS FOR MAINE'S BICENTENNIAL Second Abbe Museum site opens in Bar Harbor in 2001. In 2013, Abbe becomes the first and only Smithsonian Affiliate in Maine. Somali and Bantu migrants move to Lewiston in the 2000s, reinvigorating the downtown by opening shops in previously closed storefronts.

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