A board member who is successful is one who takes the role seriously and contributes to the organization in an authentic way. They must be able make difficult decisions, think strategically and keep the larger picture in mind while offering with a unique perspective based on their own experience. A strong board of directors will aid the organization in achieving its goals and mission by providing direction and supervision. They will be driven to see the organization thrive and are not afraid to voice their opinions.

While having many connections is crucial for organizations however, they should also focus on attracting those who are passionate about the cause and willing to dedicate their time. It’s also important to ensure your board members possess the required skills. According to Institutional Shareholder Services the boards of Enron and Kmart and the struggling retailer Warnaco had a variety of financial skills and knowledge. They included former Stanford deans and accounting professors and a well-known Asian financier and the former head the U.S. Government’s Commodity Futures Trading Commission. However the credentials were not enough to prevent the company what is an advisory board from failing.

Also regular attendance at meetings is often seen as a sign of good board members. As Stanford GSB adjunct faculty of corporate governance Nell Minow explains, this measure doesn’t distinguish between boards that are good or bad. Attendance records for the boards at GE and WorldCom (which were both listed on Fortune’s 2001 list as the most loved companies) have little to show.