We spend time and money training the board in governance. We explain about conflict of interest, confidentiality and the duty of loyalty. This is good. Perhaps, we also need to train the stakeholders to understand the polices board members must follow.
Do the stakeholders know all about your conflict of interest rules? Perhaps if they did understand the rules that constrain the behaviour of the board, there would be more trust in the board. Some stakeholders may be under the impression that the board is serving themselves when the board is in fact serving the stakeholders as a group.
Stakeholders should be aware that board members cannot discuss confidential matters when they are not at the board room table. Another fact that stakeholders should be clear on is that having a friend on the board does not mean you will be able to receive benefits that are not available to others.
Communication is key to improving trust between the board, management, employees and other stakeholders.