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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. 

If you're interested in upping your game at the board table, no matter the size of your board or the type of organization you serve, subscribe below to receive a weekly link right in your email inbox.

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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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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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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Smile! You're In Camera.

I’m sure you’ve seen it happen. The board decides to hold an in camera session – or as it’s known in the US, an executive session - clearing the boardroom of all staff.

Outside the closed door, staff perceive it as a signal that something ominous is about to happen. They start to speculate about what’s going on. Is the CEO in trouble? Has something scandalous occurred? Is the company threatened?

Inside the boardroom, the questions are less earth-shaking. How...

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ESG for SMEs

ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) strategies are all the rage. But that’s just for big publicly-traded companies, isn’t it? 
 
Not so fast. 
 
Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and non-profits are discovering that they’re in the same boat. Just like major corporations, they face a need to meet expectations about their ESG strategy. If ESG is not on your radar yet, it soon will be.
 
“There’s increased pressure from...
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"Do I need a motion for that?"

Robert’s Rules of Order? I’m not a big fan of Robert’s Rules. Who is this guy Robert anyway? Who made him king?

Okay, you’re right, my tongue is planted firmly in cheek. Boards do need to have a way of conducting their meetings and making group decisions. Robert’s Rules provide that framework.

That said, an overly strict adherence to the parliamentary procedures outlined in Robert’s Rules of Order can really be a buzzkill at board meetings. I’ve seen...

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Hop on a Moving Bus

Joining a new board of directors is like getting on a bus – one that’s already full of people and is well on its way to its destination.

The tricky part is that the bus isn’t stationary. Even as you hop on, it’s already moving.

Whether it’s your first bus ride or you’re a veteran, you’ve got to catch your breath, find your place, and settle in for the journey.

In the same way, whether you’re a first time director or you’ve already served...

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Reports by Directors for Directors

Most of the available advice about how to improve reports for the board of directors is about content from the senior management team – reminding us that, even though it’s easy to point the finger at management for voluminous reports that are painfully dense, the board itself is accountable to ensure it receives the information needed to fulfill its role. If you, as a director, aren’t happy with the form, length, style, and content of your board’s management reports,...

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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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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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