I had the pleasure of working with 24 outstanding business leaders and company directors yesterday—delegates on the IoD Company Director's Course. The topic of the day was strategy, as it always is on the second day of the course. My task was to lead the day and provoke discussion and debate, as part of the learning experience. The entire course is run under The Chatham House Rule, so delegates can speak freely and use real-world examples without fear of sensitive information being made public. However, some of the themes and conclusions that emerged from the discussion can be mentioned:
Unfortunately, despite the theory on how boards are supposed to work, the reality is considerably messier. Reinvigorating boards with curiosity and courage would be a very good place to start fixing what is broken.
Hopefully, delegates are able take away something from the course to ponder and challenge their status quo and some of the accepted maxims of governance. Boards cannot afford to remain as "parsley on fish—decorative but useless" (Irving Olds, Chairman, US Steel 1940–1952). If the behaviours and comments of the CDC delegates this week are any indication, curiosity and courage may be about to re-enter our boardrooms.
Thoughts on corporate governance, strategy and effective board practice; our place in the world; and, other things that catch my attention.