I recently attended an excellent session on Governance and the role of Directors, run by the IOD the in Kenya. It was part of an ambitious programme by one of our most forward-thinking insurance companies to map out sustainable growth for their brand.
One of the most important guidelines shared by IOD was that Boards should spend 70% of their time on the future of the Company. That is worth stressing, as I know several of my peers who sit on Boards spend 90% of their time on current year performance against plan. Indeed, judging by the size of the Board packs many of them are asked to read, some would be forgiven for thinking that Management teams were trying to distract them from thinking ahead.
Well balanced Boards contain a strong representation of skills, experience and perspectives that do not exist inside the Company’s management team. They need to be given the chance to transfer meaningful value – that goes beyond asking why sales are down or management expenses up.
But Board members themselves should want to make this contribution. Indeed, top business school IMD’s Professor Jean-Philippe Deschamps says: “innovation needs to be part of a Board’s governance mission.”
The EY Centre for Board Matters concurs: “To stay ahead of the competition, it’s important (for Boards) to focus on innovation.” Continue reading