I have shared the following story twice in the last 24 hours. It resonated with those that heard it, so much so that I thought a wider audience might also appreciate it.
My wife provides a useful sounding board for my research work. However, she tells folk that she's no governance expert. I suspect she knows way more than she lets on. Here's why. While we were on vacation recently, we chatted about my doctoral research a couple of times. One time, out of the blue, she offered this analogy:
Aren't boards a bit like cakes? A cake only becomes a cake after the ingredients are combined and the mixture is baked. A cake cannot be explained by describing each of the individual ingredients, or even the mixed dough. Why pull something apart to explain it, when it only makes sense when it is complete?
I thought this was a really profound analogy. It provides a timely reminder that we need to think about boards and the context within which they operate—the company—in a holistic way, if the goal is to explain how they influence performance outcomes. A close inspection of individual attributes of boards won't give us that.
Thoughts on corporate governance, strategy and effective board practice; our place in the world; and, other things that catch my attention.