In every organization there are a variety of different roles that need to be filled for the company to prosper. From management to front line employees, everyone contributes to the overall system, helping to improve productivity, build customer loyalty and ultimately, increase profitability. But few roles are as critical to organizational success as its Board of Directors. As the governing body of the company, the Board is responsible for making sure long term goals and values are in line and that everything is being done to further the strategic direction or purpose of the organization.A Broad Based Role Not all companies have an outside Board of Directors or Advisory Board, but those that do generally have a leg-up when ensuring the strategic direction of the company and holding the leadership team accountable. A Board typically reviews strategy and makes sure senior leadership has the right end-goals in mind, as well as the capabilities in place to work towards those goals. While the Board generally does not create the strategic plan, they are responsible for reviewing and approving it. Through this role, a strong, focused Board looks out for the shareholders and relevant stakeholders of the organization, while keeping the management team directed toward the core values and longer term objectives. Building Strength Through Diversity A capable Board of Directors should include a diverse group of individuals who have broad-based experiences and knowledge. By having understanding and skill not just within the industry of the company they serve, but broader complementary experiences and talents, the right group of individuals can help to reinforce and build on one another as a Board. Bringing together talented and experienced people with numerous viewpoints and thought processes builds strength through diversity - optimizing creativity, leadership and wisdom that organizations use to thrive. Staying Out Front and Ahead of the Curve As the world around us moves at breakneck speed, the continual role of management and governance of any company is to keep its ears to the ground and eyes wide open to the changes that are going on in the world where they operate. What is happening economically and technologically, as well as politically and socially, have significant impacts on organizations. A strong Board is aware of global activity at every level, whether it’s local vendors and suppliers or worldwide clients. Information flow today is instant and fluid, requiring organizations to stay out front, always on top of the latest trends and developments. World affairs or technology can change the way business is conducted in a split second, instantly rendering old processes obsolete. A strong eagle-eyed perspective that focuses more on policy and strategic issues as opposed to day-to-day operations is a valuable asset for any company. A diverse, experienced Board can ensure the company stays on track to meet its short term goals while staying true to the strategic vision and mantra for the company. Staying informed and having the skill to translate that information into a strategic vision is the differentiator that will separate good companies from great companies in years to come.