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Recently we re-published an earlier blog post, “What do I need to know about risk?” and shared The Savvy Director Guide to Risk with our subscribers as well as our network on LinkedIn.
Of course, there’s no way that a single blog post can cover the full breadth of a complex topic like risk. After all, there are entire books and courses of study devoted to the subject. Comments from some of our Savvy Director readers gave us great ideas for a follow-up blog on the topic.
Many thanks to those who shared their thoughts about additional concepts that Savvy Director readers could benefit from.
Grant Griffiths, board advisor, commented,
“One thing I would add is culture, it is so important when it comes to the management and oversight of risk. Without a risk aware culture - driven from the board who set the tone - achieving effective management and oversight of risk becomes complicated and has less chance of succeeding.”
If your board is now contemplating the transition from virtual meetings back to in-person ones, you may once again be confronted with the dreaded decision, “Where should I sit?”
Okay, I get that this is not the most urgent and compelling matter in front of a board director, but it may actually cause you a small amount of anxiety when you're confronted with all those empty chairs. I know that, personally, I've been grateful for tent cards in such a situation.
Is there a right place and a wrong place to sit?
Well, as it turns out, this topic is the subject of scientific research! Who knew?
I found out everything I need to know about this topic from a website called Science of People. The information presented in this blog is drawn from an article entitled How to Pick the Right Seat in a Meeting EVERY Time by Vanessa Van Edwards.
It seems that where you sit in a meeting greatly affects people’s perceptions of you, your feelings toward...
“Governance stories in the news tend to focus on conflict, crisis, and failure – shedding light on goings-on and machinations that were not meant to be in the public eye. However disturbing, these stories make fascinating case studies.” – The Savvy Director, ‘Governance in the News’
Last week’s blog dealt with board succession. If you read that post (A Better Way to Fill Board Seats), then you know I’m an advocate of treating board succession as an ongoing process of planned renewal.
Maybe you also noticed that we glossed over the whole topic of actually selecting the right director for your board – a process that is complicated enough to merit its own separate blog post.
So, let’s delve into the topic of board recruitment now.
A competency matrix is a useful tool for board succession. It helps you visualize the skills and attributes that the board needs compared to those that it currently has. It makes the gaps obvious.
But, when it comes time to make a final selection, make sure to pinpoint specifically what the board needs at this point in time, asking key questions like:
Does this sound familiar?
A long-standing, knowledgeable and well-respected director will soon be stepping off your board. This will create a vacant board seat.
Once the board becomes aware of this impending departure, a board committee is tasked with finding a good candidate to fill the seat. The committee scrambles to interview a few candidates and recommend one of them to the board.
The board rubber stamps the committee recommendation and – bingo! – there’s a new board member at the table. You’d better hope they’re a good fit because one director can change the board’s dynamics and culture – sometimes in a negative way that would have been revealed with more time and a better process.
There’s got to be a better way …
Board succession - filling board vacancies when directors step down - can be a complex, time-consuming task. There are a number of factors for the board to keep track of: the gap created by the...
In last week’s Savvy Director post, I wrote about healthy tension among board members, and the need to prevent it from deteriorating into disruptive conflicts, or resolving the conflicts quickly if they do arise.
But there’s a certain kind of conflict that arises in the boardroom that I didn’t address – one that requires finesse and sensitivity to manage. I’m referring to conflict between the CEO (often called the Executive Director in the non-profit world) and the board.
The relationship between the CEO and the board is crucial, and has a huge influence on organizational success. The CEO and the board play different roles, but they have to pull together on achieving the organization’s goals. If they’re pulling in opposite directions, the organization is at an impasse.
Mutual trust is at the core of a strong board-CEO relationship. Of course, a harmonious relationship doesn’t guarantee success, but it can pave the way, clear out...
Ever heard that one before?
Thankfully it happens much less these days. But it took an experienced director to pull me aside after a board meeting one time to help see the light.
Body language, tone of voice, choosing your words with care, and simply waiting for the right time to jump into the discussion have all made a huge difference in my ability to have influence over others in the boardroom. But not every time. I still manage to mess up when I’m not conscious of listening first or not putting myself into the other person’s shoes.
W.A.I.T. “Why am I talking?” is a helpful acronym to tuck away into your savvy director toolbox. Try using it sometime before blurting out your question or interrupting someone who is talking.
Ask yourself, “Do I really need to speak to this agenda item? Or is it just my ego wanting to hear myself talk?” Again, I’m speaking my personal truth as a director. The...