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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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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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The Ego Paradox

“The paradox of board leadership is that, while you might earn a seat on a board of directors thanks to your abilities, knowledge, or popularity, serving well as a board member means leaving your ego behind.” – Susan Mogensen, Brown Dog Consulting

It’s not a surprise that, as a general rule, board directors have healthy egos. After all, they’re most often selected from among the ranks of successful business people, entrepreneurs, professionals, and academics....

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Your Voice Matters in the Boardroom

Sometimes I hear from board directors who are struggling to find their voice in the boardroom. They don’t feel comfortable speaking up, or they can’t seem to make themselves heard.

It can be a particular challenge for newcomers to the board, or for those who feel outnumbered by virtue of their gender, age, race, etc.

If you don’t feel comfortable speaking up in the boardroom, you’ll end up feeling less engaged – maybe frustrated and resentful. Not only is that...

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Seeing Ourselves Clearly

Most of us like to think we’re self-aware – that we see ourselves clearly. Apparently, most of us are wrong. Research shows that only 10 to 15 percent of us fit the criteria for self-awareness.

Why does it matter? For board directors, self-awareness is an important attribute because when we see ourselves clearly, we can be more effective in the role.

For the Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD), self-awareness ranks along with effective judgment and integrity as one of the...

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