The Institute of Directors Zimbabwe (IoDZ) says executives taking up board leadership roles must be accredited with credible institutions if companies are to derive high-quality guidance and advice from them.
In an interview with Standardbusiness during the Director of the Year awards recently, IoDZ chairman Mike Eric Juru said this was important as the success of organisations hinged on the quality of directors that they appointed.
"The unfortunate reality is that the root cause (of board shortcomings) is traceable to the selection and appointment process," Juru told Standardbusiness.
"The pool from which the selection is done needs to be filtered first to ensure those appointed have credentials befitting the appointment," he added.
Juru said not everyone could be a director and there were critical attributes required for role effectiveness.
This is why directors must receive appropriately structured training and relevant experience, Juru noted.
In addition, they should have accepted to be subservient to a code of ethics or conduct as a professional, who continuously updates one's skills, leading to accreditation.
The IoDZ boss said such accreditation would give appointing authorities leads into, who qualified to sit on boards and who did not.
"The current situation deviates away from a known fact that success in one's field does not necessarily follow success in any other. While we have various professional accreditations, the respective practitioners find themselves elevated to a new responsibility of directorship without the requisite training and are expected to perform.
"Success in courts does not translate to success in governance practice, success in treating people and saving lives again does not translate to success in the boardroom," Juru added.
He said directors had a fundamental and legal responsibility to provide an oversight role for the organisations, which meant they provided a bird's eye view.
"The word 'oversight' is composed of 'over,' meaning above, and 'sight,' meaning looking, but most importantly, not touching and that is the difference maker.
"Directors perform the executive oversight role by deliberating on, scrutinising and approving company policies, strategies, programmes, and expenditure plans and to make executives accountable.
"The role further involves serving as a resource to the chief executive officer (CEO) for advice and guidance along with serving as a check and balance," Juru said.
He said an important thing to note was that without skills and experience, one cannot advise and guide executives.
Juru said directors led busy lives, which required skillful boardroom management to pick executives who make the right decisions during the times they meet.
"It is imperative for the appointing authorities to save the situation by appointing the right skills from the start.
"Accreditation will confirm sufficient understanding of board meeting management best practices and would lead to corporate governance best practice all the time, which promotes organisational progress.
"The nuances of how to run a board meeting are part of director training.
"The institution of directorship needs to be revered as it carries so much responsibility.
"The platform for director accreditation is already in existence in Zimbabwe as we have respective professional bodies in governance (IoDZ) and also esteemed regulators in the form of the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange and State Enterprises Regulatory Authority, who are entrusted to protect the public interest.
"The respective bodies are strategically positioned to monitor, regulate, set practice standards and ethical codes for directors in state enterprises and listed companies," added Juru, founder and CEO at Integrated Properties.