What is a Digital Director? Does your board need a Digital Director? Part III

  • A digital director should be actively involved in a day-to-day role that enables him or her to remain current on business-related technological developments.
  • A digital expert on the board has to first satisfy all the basic requirements for a director: someone senior in stature, able to operate at both a tactical and strategic level, and ethical beyond reproach.
  • Seek directors who are a fit in terms of culture and personality, not just experience and specialised skills. This individual has to be viewed by the rest of the board, and be able to perform, as a member of the team.
  • Make sure the director shares the board’s view of the role of the board and the boundaries between governance and management. 
  • Beware of appointing a specialist, or worse, of taking on a “token director,” who may find it difficult to contribute fully as a board team member. Also, beyond the specific digital experience sought, pay attention to the crucial soft skills and attributes that determine fit with the rest of the board.
  • Gain agreement on what a specific board needs. Is an element of the business strategy to ramp up online sales or to protect the company from cyberthreats? The answers to these and other questions will help determine critical selection criteria.
  • Don't neglect onboarding. Especially with a first-time director or where there is a significant age or experience gap with the rest of the board, a thoughtful integration process — which may include a formal onboarding program and mentoring from an experienced director — will enable the new director to more quickly add value to the board