The Evolution of Corporate Boards: Trends to Watch in 2024

As you’re looking at the year ahead and planning priorities for your corporate board, it’s important to thoughtfully consider the latest business trends and how they may impact your organization. Additionally, it’s just as important to think about the principles your board of directors will stick to no matter what challenges come along. While specific trends are emerging for 2024 that you and your board should be aware of, your board’s defining principles should remain largely unchanged.

Constants for Your Corporate Board

Business trends come and go, but the overarching role of your corporate board remains consistent. Here are a few of the principles that your board should stick to:

  • Operate under a culture of psychological safety and follow agreed-upon rules of communication.
  • Abide by clearly defined board member roles, processes, and procedures.
  • Maintain responsibilities for corporate governance and financial oversight.
  • Establish accountability for the business, CEO, and other C-suite executives.
  • Focus on long-term business goals.

Along with these constant operational guidelines, you want to ensure that your board is discussing the most relevant topics. As trends emerge and things change in the world, boards have to be cognizant of everything going on, including how developments may affect the organization. The world is, in many ways, in turmoil right now, so your board has to consider both immediate and long-term effects on the business from every angle.

Business Trends to Monitor in 2024

In 2024, corporate boards should anticipate and plan for the following business trends:

Balancing technology with humanity: Ensure that your organization stays on top of developments in technology, especially advancements and opportunities with artificial intelligence and machine learning. Generative AI is everywhere; it’s thoroughly integrated into just about every facet of business. According to a recent Forbes article, “To be an industry leader in five years, you need a clear and compelling generative AI strategy today.” The most successful companies will find the ideal ways to balance AI with humanity and soft skills.

Navigating economic changes: Organizations in all industries have to make sure they are prepared for economic changes, whether bracing for an economic downturn or taking advantage of growth opportunities. Your corporate board should embrace its governance and fiduciary responsibilities to help your business in any economic environment.

Accommodating a versatile work environment: Business operations face an ever-changing work environment with the continuation of remote and hybrid work and an increasingly global workforce. Your board of directors must recognize opportunities to work with geographically diverse teams and attract talent from anywhere in the world.

Monitoring current global events: It’s up to your board of directors to keep your company on top of what’s happening in the world. They also should develop guidelines for your company’s internal and external response to potential environmental events, war, political issues, and other trends, changes, and events that may arise.

Corporate Board Response

More than ever before, boards of directors for global organizations have to be thoughtful, considerate, and strategic about how they respond to global events. They must practice ethical leadership in crafting their responses; public statements made by corporations often have a significant long-term impact on the business.

I was a board member of a global organization when the war between Russia and Ukraine began, and I won’t sugarcoat it: it was a tough experience. The number one lesson I learned is that you’ll never please everybody. You may even be applauded and hated—all within the same hour—for the same action or words. My advice is to be nimble, quick, and strategic. When you have a global audience, a global customer base, and a global impact, the world feels a whole lot smaller.

With that in mind, I encourage board chairs to open every meeting by asking what has changed since the last meeting. What’s changed that affects strategy and goals? How has the business environment changed? What’s happening throughout the industry—and beyond? The board has to be aware of current events throughout the world, consider potential business implications, and respond appropriately.

Prepare Your Board

Things are changing rapidly around the world. It’s imperative for the health of your organization that your corporate board remains up-to-date and ready to adapt—whatever comes your way.

Questions to Consider

  1. Have you identified the biggest concerns you have for your organization heading into 2024?
  2. Do you have the right mix of board members to address challenges on the horizon?
  3. If you don’t have a board, should you have one to help you navigate business trends in 2024?

I’d love to help position your board of directors for success. Contact me if you’d like to discuss how to prepare your corporate board for the challenges it will face in 2024.