Last week, I was invited, with 16 others, to help review a Competency Framework being proposed by the Institute of Directors. I commend this initiative, aimed at raising the bar. While competency of itself does not guarantee that any director will be effective, it is a move in the right direction.
During the wide-ranging discussion, several participants suggested that governance should be professionalised, like medicine, accountancy, law and several other professions. I support these calls—strongly. Why? Well, stories like this get under my skin. While the majority of directors fulfil their legal and ethical responsibilities well, sadly there are a few bad eggs that discredit governance in the public's eyes.
The mechanism would be relatively straightforward, involving perhaps:
The IOD's optional accreditation scheme provides a useful starting point, but it falls short because participation is optional. In my opinion, governance must be professionalised, with a robust body and process not dissimilar to medicine (Colleges of Practice, Medical Council of New Zealand, Disciplinary Tribunal). Perhaps then the concerns expressed in the article—that directors can dodge bans—will become a thing of the past. Here's hoping.
Thoughts on corporate governance, strategy and the craft of board work; our place in the world; and, other things that catch my attention.