Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Directors as Mentors: A Board of Successful Veterans of Life Can Pass on Lessons and Business

Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Directors as Mentors: A Board of Successful Veterans of Life Can Pass on Lessons and Business

Article excerpt

Bank directors and trustees know well their traditional responsibility, protecting and improving the bank's balance sheet. But consultant Leo McManus says they have another, less-obvious obligation: protecting the bank's intellectual property--the sum of the bank's people and their experience.

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"Having and developing capable leadership both for today and tomorrow is now recognized as a fundamental obligation and essential legal duty of trustees and directors," McManus told listeners at ABA's Directors' Forum last autumn. McManus sees mentoring as a key role for the board, in both talent management and succession management.

Frequently, when the topic of succession management comes up, board members think in terms of the CEO, and the ripple effects that might be caused when an internal candidate moves up (and miffed rivals sometimes move out). But McManus, head of L.F. McManus Co., a management research and development firm in Worcester, Mass., sees the board's role as broader and deeper. He suggests that management encourage the board to establish a program where board members serve as mentors for employees as a complement to identifying, promoting, and, in some cases, hiring talent.

This amounts to husbanding the bank's resources. "Without ways to identify and develop high potential talent," warned McManus, "such talent may leave the bank in order to continue to learn and to grow--and they can also be targets for executive recruiters."

The typical director or trustee has never even been a banker. But McManus believes that whether they are doctors, lawyers, veterinarians, business owners, or undertakers, they bring experience of value to the board. …

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