Kleiner Perkins cofounder Tom Perkins describes his time on Hewlett-Packard's board as "an example of how a board of directors can really help management." But with that exception, he notes, corporate boards serve little purpose.
What does the board do? You meet at 8:30 a.m. and planes have to be caught around 1 p.m. An audit committee meeting can take an hour and you've got all the other committees. And then it's almost time for lunch and you have a few minutes to talk about competition, strategy, growth rate, succession, the future, fundamentally important stuff. And it tends to get scrunched into a very limited amount of time.