Board Games
Straight Talk for New Directors and Good Governance
by John T. Montford and Joseph Daniel McCool
June 2016, 188pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-4252-8
$55, £43, 48€, A76
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-4253-5
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Today’s directors must be prepared to face a range of boardroom issues to avoid crises—and to hold on to their jobs.

Succeeding in today's corporate and not-for-profit boardrooms is tougher than ever before, with new and established board directors facing myriad new and rapidly globalizing governance challenges. Directors and aspiring board candidates need a survival guide to beat the odds and avoid crises—the best credentials and the best of intentions aren't enough. This book is that guide.

Board Games: Straight Talk for New Directors and Good Governance is an essential resource for any current or aspiring board director. It identifies the issues directors are most likely to face in today’s rapidly changing, potentially hazardous business environments, offering candid, well-informed insights that address emerging issues, potential conflicts, and real-board situations. Readers will learn how to be more effective, more informed, and more diligent directors committed to the shareholders’ best interests—even if that mindset challenges the interests of current management.

This book shows new directors on any board how the current systems of financial reporting, regulatory compliance, and crisis management work, serving as a playbook that can help them serve the corporate good while protecting themselves—and do the right thing for shareholders, employees, customers, and communities they serve. The authors apply their extensive experience at the top of various corporations and nonprofit organizations to identify the behind-the-scenes, boardroom-culture issues that can trip up any director and demonstrate the critical importance of committing to the right governance, due diligence, and independent oversight.


  • Supplies frank advice and straight talk for current board directors and future directors that warn of the various kinds of troubling developments that can arise in and outside the boardroom
  • Breaks down the core requirements, expectations, and commitments directors must make to protect shareholders based on the coauthors' deep and varied board and executive leadership experience
  • Provides a roadmap for anyone who wants to serve on a board or advisory board—be it for a company, institution, not-for-profit, or government or community organization—or those who currently serve on boards but need guidance and advice
  • Explains why most boards aren't more diverse and what today's directors can and should do to rectify this issue
John T. Montford is president and chief executive officer of JTM Consulting, LLC, the state and federal government relations advisory firm he founded in 2010, and chancellor emeritus of the Texas Tech University System. He has served as an independent director of Southwest Airlines since 2002 and currently serves as chairman of its audit committee. Prior to establishing his own consulting firm, Montford served as senior advisor for global public policy for General Motors Company, where he was responsible for GM public policy for federal, state, and international, as well as the GM Foundation, and was a member of the GM Executive Committee. Prior to joining GM, Montford was the senior vice president of state legislative affairs for AT&T. Other positions he has held include chair of the Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, president of the board of the National Western Art Foundation, chair of the advisory committee for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, chair of the Development Board of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, and president of the San Antonio Independent School District Foundation. Montford's work has been published in law review articles and he also coauthored a book on Texas workers' compensation.

Joseph Daniel McCool is principal of The McCool Group, a global advisory firm that helps companies, universities, and not-for-profit organizations get better results from executive search, management succession, and the board nominating process. For nearly 20 years, McCool has been a source for business insights as well as expert commentary on board and executive search and succession issues in global media, including The Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and The Economist. McCool has also appeared on the BBC World News, CNBC, CBC Radio, and CNN Radio, among other global media. He is the author of Deciding Who Leads: How Executive Recruiters Drive, Direct & Disrupt the Global Search for Leadership Talent and serves on corporate and institutional advisory boards. He holds a master's degree in organizational leadership with a certificate in servant leadership from Gonzaga University and a bachelor's degree in business administration from Plymouth State College of the University System of New Hampshire. McCool has been a member of the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD), the Society of Corporate Secretaries & Governance Professionals, the Human Resources Leadership Forum, and the National Eagle Scout Association.


“I enjoyed reading Board Games a great deal. It is full of very topical and detailed information for both novice and experienced board members alike, and it takes on the tough issues, like cyber security and executive compensation, in bold and straightforward ways. Montford and McCool provide some comprehensive and rigorous guidelines and tools for board performance and self-evaluation. This is a how-to book designed to support the can-do posture required of today’s boards. I will keep this book in my library and refer to it often.”—Thomas W. Gilligan, Tad and Dianne Taube Director, Hoover Institution, Stanford University

“If you want to be a better, wiser, and more independent board director, this book is your code-breaker and action plan. It’s your move.” —Ed Whitacre, Chairman Emeritus, AT&T Inc., and Former Chairman and CEO, General Motors Company

“John knows where boards have been and especially how their Audit Committees manage risk. Joe knows where boards must go and he brings equal depth and insight about the board’s Nominating function. Together, Montford and McCool pack a powerful statement on the independence of board directors—and how you can make a real impact on effective governance—in the pages of this book.”—Roger Kenny, Managing Partner, Kenny Boardroom Consulting

"McCool and Montford have distilled years of experience with high-level boards into this book—a how-to manual of the highest order. It provides the type of information board members need to make an impact and feel confident in the process. Slip this book into your briefcase before your next board meeting!"—Marcia Ballinger, PhD, Board Chair, Capella University
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