A study by Deloitte Growth Enterprise Services found that many family businesses (28%)--even larger ones--fail to take advantage of the benefits of a board of directors. Even those family businesses with boards don't properly utilize them, since many often meet infrequently--fewer than one board meeting a year. How much governance can actually be taking place in such a situation?

Deloitte found that the most effective boards were comprised primarily of independent directors, yet only 39% are in this category. Benefits provided by an effective board include:

  • Making sure business issues are not personalized
  • Aid in succession planning
  • Help getting senior management to be strategically focused

Tapping into the insights and experiences of an engaged, diverse, and independent board can yield significant operational advantages in the long run. Given that family businesses are considered significant engines of job creation, a sharper focus on governance is important to their longevity and to the success of our economy as a whole.