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The Savvy Director Blog

Welcome to The Savvy Director™ blog, a place to engage on board governance topics as you travel the path to being a savvy director. 

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The Importance of Being Compliant

I frequently read these days that boards are spending too much time on oversight (which is typically described as a “check-the-boxes exercise”) and not enough on the future. While I agree that boards need to allow enough time for robust discussions of strategy, that doesn’t mean that the responsibility for oversight can be ignored.

Overseeing corporate compliance may not be a topic that garners much attention, but it remains a key governance responsibility. Savvy Directors...

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The Way We Do Things Around Here

prepare for meetings Feb 11, 2024

This is the third of three articles on the topic of human capital. The first, Overseeing “Our Greatest Asset”, dealt with the board’s role in Human Capital Management and the second, The Talent-Savvy Board, dealt with Talent Management. In this article we explore the importance of organizational culture.

An organization’s culture can make or break a brilliant strategy and build or damage the careers of experienced executives. A positive culture that aligns well with...

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Why Board Development?

Board development is a process. It’s designed to provide board members with training and support to enhance the skills and effectiveness of every director, no matter where they are on their governance journey.

With a good board development plan, the board collectively will do a better job at fulfilling its stewardship role.

That sounds straightforward enough. Yet, when I talk to some board directors and management teams about board training, they roll their eyes and I hear comments...

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The Talent-Savvy Board

prepare for meetings Jan 28, 2024
This is the second of three articles on the topic of human capital. The first, Overseeing “Our Greatest Asset”, dealt with the board’s role in Human Capital Management. The next article in the series will deal with Organizational Culture.
 
Providing oversight of an organization’s top talent has long been a core responsibility for boards of directors. They play a critical role in hiring and firing the CEO, evaluating the performance of top executives, and...
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Believing is Seeing

think independently Jan 21, 2024

Here’s a familiar scenario for most board directors. You’re reviewing management reports in preparation for an upcoming board meeting. There’s a report on a just-completed project, or maybe a proposal for a new one. You take a quick look. Ho-hum. Nothing new there. It’s just as you thought – the project was a success and the proposal makes sense.

Maybe you’re right. Or maybe it’s confirmation bias at work.

Confirmation bias has a profound impact on...

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Overseeing “Our Greatest Asset”

prepare for meetings Jan 13, 2024
This is the first of three articles dealing with Human Capital Management. The next two will deal with Talent Management and Organizational Culture.
 
Historically, organizations have viewed their workforce through a financial lens. The well-worn phrase “our people are our greatest asset” marked a transition from viewing people as just another operating expense to considering them as intangible assets that represent a fundamental component of the organization’s...
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Boardroom Trends 2024

With this kickoff 2024 edition of The Savvy Director, we’re highlighting boardroom trends that governance experts have been writing about lately.

If you’re like me, you’ll find that some resonate, others not so much. Hopefully, this will give you a running start as you consider which trends apply to your board, and which can be set aside for the time being.

I have a hunch you’ll find some interesting trends that could be tweaked to adapt to your board’s...

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Decisions, Decisions.

think independently Dec 16, 2023

We all believe that groups make better decisions than individuals. There’s power in numbers, isn’t there? Otherwise, a board of directors might just as well consist of one person.

But is it true? Do groups really make better decisions?

How do groups go about making decisions, anyway? More importantly, how should they be making decisions to improve the odds of achieving the best outcome?

And what is the boardroom reality when it comes to decision-making? Do boards really make...

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Ears to the Ground

prepare for meetings Dec 10, 2023
 

I came across an excellent opinion piece written by Ram Charan, a world-renowned business advisor, author, and speaker who has spent the past 35 years working with many top companies, CEOs, and boards. He’s known for cutting through the complexity of running an organization in today’s fast changing environment to uncover the core problem that needs solving.

Ram Charan’s article in the newsletter Corporate Board Member Briefing, is about the five lessons a board can...

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Trust and The Savvy Director

Recently, I had the opportunity to hear author Brian Hayward speak about his new book, The Great Chair: A Window on Effective Board Leadership. I was particularly struck by Brian’s comments on the topic of trust in the boardroom, and how it links to the ability to influence others.

Brian’s book is all about board chairs, and why they are more important than ever for effective governance, so his writing reflects the importance of trust in the board chair’s relationship to...

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