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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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Analysis Paralysis

think independently Apr 30, 2023

How much information is enough for a board to make a decision with impact?

The best boards can make decisions without perfect information. Waiting for perfect information often results in a missed opportunity. Analysis paralysis is a description applied to the inability to make a timely decision while waiting for more and more data. I’d like to suggest that it’s just an excuse to procrastinate. (I’ve been there.)

For board directors, the good news is they don’t have...

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Why Whistleblowers Matter

demonstrate courage Apr 16, 2023

Every board of directors depends on a stream of reliable information to fulfill their oversight role. A whistleblower program is a tool for directors to access information that would otherwise not reach the boardroom.

Whistleblowers give the board a window into what is happening inside the organization. But for whistleblowing to work properly - so that both the whistleblower and the accused person are protected – the program must be handled with care. The board plays an important role...

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Getting Through Times of Crisis

 

The COVID-19 pandemic is finally receding into the rearview mirror, and so is the crisis mindset that affected so many organizations around the world. Board directors everywhere are eager to get back to a more “normal” rhythm.

While this kind of global health crisis is rare, it’s a good bet that sooner or later every organization – private, public, non-profit, or government – will face some kind of crisis. Getting through it will take skill, commitment,...

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Complicity through Complacency

demonstrate courage Mar 19, 2023

Do you ever feel the calls from the boardroom to modernize, evolve its mandate, redefine its purpose, refresh its composition, motivate the management team - but nothing ever actually changes?

When it comes to making progress in boardrooms globally, there can be an insidious complacency that often prevents us from achieving real transformation.

Maybe your boardroom is the exception.

The truth is that true change demands courage – both on the level of the individual director and as a...

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AI in the Boardroom

prepare for meetings Mar 05, 2023

Image - AI bot at the boardroom table - generated by Shutterstock

Today’s post is by David Jaworski, Principal Product Manager for Microsoft Teams and co-founder of DirectorPrep. Dave serves on the board of INEO Solutions (TSXV: INEO) as well as non-profit boards. He previously served on the Advisory Board of Payworks and the public board of PNI Digital Media which was acquired by Staples. [email protected] LinkedIn: https://linkedin.com/in/DaveJaworski

Thanks to ChatGPT for also...

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Essentials of a Good Board Retreat

A board retreat can be a way to harness the board’s passion and expertise and align board members on strategy and goals. When the retreat’s been well planned and executed, directors leave feeling energized, and more engaged than ever in the future of the organization they serve.

The big advantage of a board retreat is that it differs from a regular board meeting in format, content, and tone. A typical board meeting is tightly scripted to get through a packed agenda in a limited...

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Give Better Advice

ask great questions Feb 05, 2023

 

There are times when your CEO or Executive Director may approach the board with a specific request for direction on what to do about a high-risk situation.

When time is of the essence, a director’s view may be required immediately for input to the board’s discussion so that a consensus can be reached quickly, and direction given. Or your CEO may be looking for validation of their pending decision. In that case, your job is to act as a sounding board to help ensure nothing...

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The People Side of Board Dysfunction

 

If you find your board work a less than enjoyable experience, and board meetings boring and frustrating, maybe you’re part of a dysfunctional board.

When it comes to a board of directors, dysfunction tends to arise from two broad areas – process and people. You’re probably not surprised that people-centered dysfunction is way more frustrating to experience, and way trickier to fix, than the process-centered kind. That’s what happens when you throw human nature...

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Fixing a Dysfunctional Board

 

Your board work should be an enjoyable experience, especially if you like dealing with interesting, complex issues where the best way forward is often difficult to discern. At their best, your board meetings should be intellectually stimulating, engaging, and rewarding – a place where you have the opportunity to exchange views with people you respect and dig down into all sorts of fascinating data.

Then why are so many board meetings boring? And why are so many board directors...

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Trust But Clarify

ask great questions Dec 11, 2022

Many of the problems that boards are faced with involve decision making under uncertainty. Rarely do we have the kind of perfect information that would allow us to predict with complete confidence what the outcome of our decision will be. Most of the time, it’s impossible to know that the facts we’re relying on are 100% certain.

To help decision makers reduce the uncertainty of the information at hand, business schools teach graduate courses on assigning probabilities to decision...

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