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Board governance

Insights to help CEOs and directors improve board effectiveness.

Boards of directors in the tunnel of the coronavirus crisis

– There are areas that boards and their chairs should prioritize when guiding their organizations through unprecedented uncertainty.



The Board Perspective - Number 2

Download our collection of McKinsey insights focusing on boards of directors.

The Board Perspective - Number 1

Download our collection of McKinsey insights focusing on boards of directors.

The role of the board


Coronavirus: 15 emerging themes for boards and executive teams

– Board directors and executives can pool their wisdom to help companies grapple with the challenge of a lifetime.

How the CFO enables the board’s success—during COVID-19 and beyond

– Two board experts explain how in times of crisis or transformation, the CFO can serve as a rock in the boardroom, a critical arbiter... of difficult decisions, and a scout for the future.

Boards in the time of coronavirus

– Boards need to step up their game and guide their organizations toward the next normal.
Article - McKinsey on Finance

How activist investors are transforming the role of public-company boards

– Collaboration between activists and traditional asset managers is changing the boardroom. Here’s how.
Executive Briefing - McKinsey Quarterly

The CEO guide to boards

– Greater responsibilities require increased commitments of time and energy.
Article - McKinsey Quarterly

Adapting your board to the digital age

– Many directors are feeling outmatched by the ferocity of changing technology, emerging risks, and new competitors. Here are four... ways to get boards in the game.

Five questions boards should ask about IT in a digital world

– CIOs, business executives, and board directors need a shared language to discuss IT performance in a fast-changing environment.... Here’s a framework for those conversations.

What’s changing in board governance?

– Board governance continues to evolve to meet changes in regulatory compliance and the strategic needs of companies, requiring... ever more collaboration between CEOs and CFOs.
Article - McKinsey Quarterly

CEO succession starts with developing your leaders

– Focusing on future priorities and debiasing decisions help, too.
Article - McKinsey Quarterly

High-performing boards: What’s on their agenda?

– Directors report that they have a greater impact as they move beyond the basics.

Preparing for bigger, bolder shareholder activists

– Activists are targeting more and bigger companies. Here’s what attracts them—and some tips on how to respond when... they show up.
Article - McKinsey Quarterly

Building a forward-looking board

– Directors should spend a greater share of their time shaping an agenda for the future.
Article - McKinsey Quarterly

Tapping the strategic potential of boards

– Too many boards just review and approve strategy. Three questions can help them—and executives—begin to do better.
Article - McKinsey Quarterly

Modernizing the board’s role in M&A 

– Active involvement can help companies capture more value—and develop a competitive advantage in deal making.
Article - McKinsey Quarterly

Engaging boards on the future of marketing

– At many companies, the whole organization is becoming more responsible for customer engagement. A few are extending this thinking... to the boardroom.

Elevating technology on the boardroom agenda

– Boards are starting to guide management by asking the right questions about technology.

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Board structure and foundations

Commentary - McKinsey Quarterly

Straight talk about gender diversity in the boardroom and beyond

– In these interview excerpts, leaders describe their efforts at promoting gender equality on boards and explore the challenges... that still linger.
Article - McKinsey Quarterly

How to accelerate gender diversity on boards

– Slow progress in adding more women to boards has dominated the conversation. But tips from standout companies are more likely... to inspire others to take firmer action.

Making boards work

– Most directors don’t understand the company’s strategy and prioritize short-term gain at the expense of creating long-term... value. We recommend four essential changes.
Article - McKinsey Quarterly

Board governance depends on where you sit

– William George, former CEO of Medtronic and a veteran of ten corporate boards, reflects on common governance pitfalls and how... to overcome them.

Boards: When best practice isn’t enough

– Many boards have improved their structures and processes. But to become truly effective stewards of their companies, they must... also instill the right mind-set and boardroom dynamics.
Article - McKinsey Quarterly

How to choose the right nonexecutive board leader

– It’s time to use a structured process for selecting the nonexecutive leader of the board. Defining the role is a good start.
Commentary - McKinsey Quarterly

The crisis: Mobilizing boards for change

– To meet the challenges of the economic crisis, corporate boards must change the way they work.

The voice of experience: Public versus private equity

– Few directors have served on the boards of both private and public companies. Those who have give their views here about which... model works best.

Board effectiveness


Building board-management dynamics to withstand a crisis: Addressing the fault lines

– Crises can strain relationships at the top of organizations to the breaking point. Improving the dynamics between board members... and senior executives can make recovery from crisis more successful.

A time for boards to act

– According to a new survey, directors see good operations and effective execution of key board activities linking with stronger... self-reported performance, suggesting that value can flow from improving the way boards work.

How CFOs can better support board directors—and vice versa

– Governing boards face increasing pressure and greater scrutiny from investors. Here is how CFOs can reinforce their stewardship.
Article - McKinsey Quarterly

The four questions to ask when serving on a nonprofit board

– Directors need to probe, nudge, and prod to make sure the organization achieves its full potential.

Toward a value-creating board

– The amount of time board directors spend on their work and commit to strategy is rising. But in a new survey, few respondents... rate their boards as effective at most tasks or report good feedback or training practices.
Article - McKinsey Quarterly

Changing the nature of board engagement

– Five tips for directors and CEOs striving to make the most of their limited time.

Are you getting all you can from your board of directors?

– Veteran director David Beatty finds many boards wanting—and considers how to improve them.

Improving board governance

– Directors are savvier about strategy than in 2011, still struggle to get their arms around risk management, and can learn more... from boards with the highest impact.

Twelve questions every new director should ask

– Induction programs for new directors typically don’t provide a sufficiently detailed understanding of the business. New... directors should take ownership of their induction, designing and conducting their own due diligence, by asking twelve critical questions.

Governance since the economic crisis

– Corporate directors know what they should be doing. But they haven’t raised their game since 2008 and must strengthen their capabilities... and spend more time on board work.