I recently spent a few days at the Advanced Director Professionalism course, run by the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) in Chicago.
The interactive program focused on how to provide companies with the best governance services, with topics discussed such as company culture, innovation, disruption, corporate transformations, and appropriate governance of cyber risk.
I walked away with an experience that significantly added insight to the past 10 years that I’ve worked as an independent corporate director. Here are three key takeaways from the course for anyone who wants to have a successful and growing business, with strong governance oversight.
Prioritize company strategy discussions
Board meetings are always filled with financial updates and other important governance risk reviews. One thing that often gets left off the agenda is strategy discussions. In an age of significant business disruption, carving out time at your board meetings for strategic conversations should always be a priority. While the dialogue surrounding strategy will change at each meeting, there should be some form of strategic planning included in every board agenda.
Tailor your conversations
When you are developing the agenda for your meeting, don’t gloss over or generalize things that are happening within or to the company. What are the key issues this meeting? Often a Red Light, Yellow Light, Green Light report can be very helpful to summarize an overview for the board to discuss with the C-suite. Don’t assume that your board knows everything or that they will agree on everything with management. Skipping a review of key metrics is a mistake to avoid.
Update your ERM plan
Update your Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) plan frequently. If you don’t have one, create one! New risks, such as cyber, are more important than ever right now, and must be addressed to keep your company safe and productive. Effective ERM processes allow for a sturdy framework to evaluate risk, identify threats, and realize competitive opportunities in your industry.
Running a business today is challenging. It’s essential to be fluid with the ever-changing business landscape and allow your company to change as the environment shifts. Your governance board can help by providing a broader perspective. Keep conversations current, plans updated, and always be open and adaptive to changes that need to be made based upon competitive realities.
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