2012                                                                                                                  Issue 11


 

BoardWorks International

Welcome to this issue of Board Works.

 

Firstly, my apologies to all our readers for the delay in producing this issue (and thank you to those who let us know you were missing its earlier publication). Thank you also to those great clients who have simply kept us too busy to write!

 

The first article deals with aggression. It is likely that most people in and around boardrooms will have to deal with inappropriate or unwarranted aggression at some stage in their governance careers. Aggression can cause a board to become quite dysfunctional if allowed to persist. In Nine Sources of Misplaced Aggression in the Boardroom I explore where this aggression can originate. Understanding the different sources can be an important first step in developing solutions.

 

Is your board a source of competitive advantage? Every board should be more than just window dressing to an organisation. In The Board as a Competitive Advantage BoardWorks International senior associate, Tony Hassed explores some concepts around high performing boards. In particular he distinguishes between a board that is 'merely' adding value and one that is a competitive advantage. In which category is your board?

 

One of the interesting and challenging things about corporate governance is that dilemmas and paradoxes are everywhere. For example, a board typically employs only one person - the chief executive - but organisational performance also depends on others whom the board does not employ. The capability and performance of second tier managers, in particular, is almost as important to many boards as that of their chief executive. Consequently, Should the Board Be Involved In Second Tier Appointments?

 

Finally, conscious of the difficult financial outlook for many organisations but those with charitable objects, in particular, I have acknowledged the pressure on board members to both contribute financially themselves and to participate actively in fundraising initiatives. The expectation of substantial personal financial contributions from board members is common in the US but less so in Australia and New Zealand.  In Which Should Come First - Fundraising or Good Governance? I look at both the rationale for board members to 'give, get, or get off', and the risks that go with this expectation.

 

 

 

Good reading

 

Graeme Nahkies

 

In This Issue
Nine Sources of Misplaced Aggression in the Boardroom
The Board as a Competitive Advantage
Should The Board Be Involved In Second Tier Appointments?
Which Comes First - Fundraising or Good Governance?
Have your Say
 Article1 Nine Sources of Misplaced Aggression in the Boardroom

 

AggressionUnfortunately aggressive behaviour is not rare in boardrooms. It is likely that most people working in and around boardrooms will encounter this at some stage in their governance careers. Recently, I observed a board meeting in which one director was unduly and inappropriately aggressive. Apparently this was not unusual and, over time, there had been increasingly negative consequences for relationships within the board and between board and management. The productive passage of the board through its meeting agendas was regularly high-jacked by this person's belligerence. His colleagues talked about 'walking on egg shells' so as not to not 'set him off'. Members of the executive team dreaded board meetings not knowing when there would be another 'full frontal attack' on them.

 

Read and Print the full Article

Article2 The Board as a Competitive Advantage
 

CompetitionNo doubt, for some readers, the prospect of the board being a competitive advantage would come as a preposterous proposition. However, if we are serious about good governance in our organisation why would we not want a board that does its job so well that the organisation performs better than an otherwise comparable organisation?

 

The starting point is to think about how we populate our board.


 

 
  
 
 
Article3A Should The Board Be Involved In Second Tier Appointments?
 

Second tier interviewLife is challenging for governing boards. Dilemmas and paradoxes abound. For example, a board typically employs one person - the chief executive - but organisational performance also depends on others whom the board does not employ. Respecting the 'chain of command' (board-chief executive-managers-staff) causes many boards to feel anxious and vulnerable. The capability and performance of, in particular, second tier managers, is almost as important to many boards as that of their chief executive.

 

Not surprisingly, therefore, some boards seek direct involvement in the appointment and performance management of second tier staff. The common explanation is that this is simply good practice - an application of the so-called 'one-over-one' principle. That principle is that all staff appointments (and dismissals) are approved by the superior of the manager proposing the decision. 

 

 
 
Article4 Which Comes First - Fundraising or Good Governance?
 

FundraisingFund raising for charitable organisations in the current domestic and global world economic climate is difficult. The financial well being of organisations is consuming an even greater proportion of boards' time and attention than usual. For some this may reflect increasing demands from the communities they serve. For others it may simply be a matter of their usual funding sources becoming less reliable. Is it time, therefore, to look more closely at whether board members should contribute directly - as individuals - to financial viability?

 

 

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"Converting individual ability and performance into group ability and performance is not easy but it is mandatory for appropriate governance."

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  - John Carver 

 


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