Many scaleups establish a supervisory board nowadays, especially after some serious investment round. The effectiveness of this board plays a crucial role in the future  success of the company. 

In this blog, I will highlight the pivotal role the independent board member has in these  boards and how they should ensure safety, continuous learning, and maintain the delicate balance of interests between the founder and the investors. By maintaining  impartial and bringing valuable expertise, the independent board member facilitates sustainable growth and success for the scaleup company they are part of. 

Ensuring Safety 

I know from experience that founders/CEOs may feel pressure to maintain an image of strength and assurance; however, it’s vital for the success of the board to encourage an open, transparent communication allowing everybody to honestly address any difficulties that may arise. I believe that independent board members should take the  responsibility of establishing this safe and trusting atmosphere within the board as they typically don’t have any other interest than the success of the company. We all recognize  the difficulty founders and investors may experience on their scaleup journeys. By  creating an environment free from judgment or fear, independent board members offer  (particularly the founder) a safe space in which they can express vulnerabilities freely,  share successes and failures openly, and look for support and advice from fellow board  members as needed. Such an atmosphere promotes an open dialogue, trust-building and  collective problem-solving that contributes to better decision making (which ultimately  benefits scaleup companies). 

Facilitating Continuous Learning 

Next to ensuring safety in the board, independent board members also provide valuable  expertise and experiences that contribute to an atmosphere of continuous learning  within a board. Their impartiality enables them to question assumptions, ask critical  questions, offer objective insights that stimulate creativity, and broaden perspectives with collective intellectual growth as a result. By encouraging ongoing education and  knowledge exchange the board stays on top of emerging trends, technologies, best  practices etc which ensures that all board members stay equipped to make informed  decisions or adapt quickly to market changes. The independent board member should  set the pace and lead by example for other board members to follow.  

Balance of Interests 

One of the most delicate aspects of a scaleup board is finding a healthy balance between  the interests of founders and investors. Founders typically have a deep emotional  connection to their company and/or product, while investors mostly seek financial  returns. The independent board member acts as a mediator, helping to align these  different interests and find common ground. As mentioned earlier, by offering an  impartial perspective, they can facilitate open and constructive dialogue between  founders and investors. This balance ensures that the scaleup company will develop as  planned, can secure necessary additional funding, retain talent, and pursue new growth  opportunities while upholding the long-term vision and mission set by the founders.


Independent board members stand out as true heroes within any scaleup board due to  their vital roles of safeguarding safety, fostering continuous learning and balancing  interests of founders and investors. By establishing a trusting atmosphere, encouraging  transparent communication, and fostering a growth mindset, the independent board  member creates an environment where founders can freely express their vulnerabilities  and share their entrepreneurial journey’s ups and downs. This safe space leads to better  decision-making, collective learning, and ultimately, the growth and success of the  scaleup company. That is why all scaleups should welcome an independent board  member in their board!

Bart Olmo

Author Bio

About Bart Omlo

With a background as a sales leader, managing director, CEO, and advisor for international scale-up companies, Bart has accumulated a wealth of insights and knowledge. He is deeply committed to sharing his expertise to assist businesses in making a substantial impact and accelerating their growth journey. Bart’s dynamic approach and experience make him a valuable asset in the business world.

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