A very interesting article appeared over at law.com this week. The author, Catherine Dunn, asked whether governance boards are prepared for the rising tide of young directors (particularly those from the ranks of the so-called "Millennials"). Ms Dunn noted that younger people think differently, have different motivations, and ask different types of questions (than older people).
Dunn's article provided a deja vu moment for me—because over the past six months I've been asking established directors and CEOs what they think about the appointment of young directors to Boards. The response to my informal survey? Generally, the people I spoke with said that calls for younger directors need to be carefully tempered with the need to retain experience. Every time an older director is replaced by a young director, 20–30+ years of experience is removed from the discussion and decision-making process (the wise old head).
So, it is good to have the vitality of youth and the good questions they ask, but this needs to be balanced with the retention of experience. A balance which is difficult to achieve in my view! How can this be best achieved?
Earlier this week I attended a dinner function with 16 others, to hear a well-regarded Director and Chairman share his thoughts and experiences about leading the Board of a high-growth company. Amongst some great insights, he suggested three areas that Boards of high-growth companies need to focus on closely:
We live in a busy world. Most of us have a lot going on in our lives, particularly our work lives. Daily, we seem to have more to see and more to do. And through our wireless devices, we are "always on" and constantly checking in—even when we are not at work. Superficially, this commitment to cause sounds good. But is it as good as we think?
As life speeds by, we are all at risk of being swept along with it. But an excessive focus on work and success can lead to significant compromises in other areas, particularly in our personal lives. And that can be unhealthy. Leslie Perlow, Harvard Professor and author of Sleeping with your Smartphone, recently wrote a great article on how to overcome this addiction to success which is played out through our mobile devices. She offers some practical tips that will enable you to devote more time to your personal life and become more productive in your work life. I commend this article to you. It'll only take 5 minutes to read. If you are game enough to try Leslie's suggestions, I'd love to hear how you get on—and I'm sure she would be as well!
Thoughts on corporate governance, strategy and effective board practice; our place in the world; and, other things that catch my attention.