Board Effectiveness Reviews

Tracking the health of your Board

The demands placed on corporate boards have reached unprecedented levels. As global forces of innovation and disruption redefine industry landscapes, our business unit stands apart with a distinct focus on delivering tangible business outcomes, enhancing shareholder value, and fostering sustainable value creation through long-term strategic thinking.

We recognise that success lies not only in anticipating major changes but also in ensuring operational flexibility and agility to capitalise on emerging opportunities. Our unique approach extends beyond conventional board responsibilities, encompassing a commitment to aligning strategies with shareholder value, navigating regulatory complexities, and addressing social and sustainability goals. Operating on timelines distinct from financial goals, we emphasise a holistic perspective that integrates ethical standards seamlessly into every facet of board decision-making.

Amidst the ongoing responsibilities of general oversight, CEO succession, compensation, and risk assessment, including crisis management in turbulent times like the current pandemic, our Board Performance Review service places a premium on driving enduring business success.

The expanding breadth and depth of board responsibilities have significantly constrained the time available for individual tasks. This challenge is exacerbated by a notable reduction in the number of board meetings, with our experience indicating a mere 30 hours a year of face-to-face director interaction. While virtual meetings, crisis-driven sessions, and committee engagements serve specific purposes, they often fall short of fulfilling the broader board remit—especially in terms of holding key decision makers accountable.

The conventional structure of the board calendar is just one facet of the issue. In numerous boards within our purview, compensation models and diverse commitments of board members act as barriers, limiting the time allocated to crucial board matters. Some boards, particularly those in emerging or disrupted industries and jurisdictions with evolving corporate governance standards, face additional challenges stemming from a lack of absolute clarity regarding their mandates. Boards are transforming, moving from compositions dominated by founders and early investor representatives (or predominantly government appointees) to a more diverse directorial mix. Moreover, stringent new governance regulations, including term limits, are impacting many, necessitating a reevaluation of their roles.

Amidst these changes, boards, regardless of their evolution triggers, must recalibrate their understanding of their responsibilities in comparison to the chair, committees, and executive leadership. The need for a synchronised evolution aligning with the dynamic landscape is paramount, requiring a strategic approach that not only adapts to external pressures but also internalises a comprehensive view of the evolving board landscape.

High-Performing Board

Maintaining a high-performing board is paramount where each director and the Board as a whole add the most value to the organisation, however this is not as easy as it sounds.

A comprehensive board evaluation is a recurring and thorough process, encompassing various facets, from the existing board composition to the performance assessment of individual directors and the board as a collective entity. Drawing from our extensive experience, we find that the most effective boards consistently and rigorously scrutinise not only their composition but also the performance of individual directors and the board as a whole.

This ongoing and meticulous examination empowers boards to gauge their performance against established standards, providing valuable insights into their effectiveness.

Beyond a mere performance appraisal, these processes offer boards the opportunity to take a deliberate step back. By doing so, boards not only gain a clearer understanding of their achievements relative to set benchmarks but also create a space to address underlying tensions that, if left unexpressed, can erode long-term performance.

This proactive approach not only enhances the board’s self-awareness but also contributes to fostering a conducive environment for collaborative decision-making. Investing time in such evaluative endeavours yields substantial benefits, as it allows boards to identify areas of improvement, optimise their performance, and ultimately enhance their long-term effectiveness.

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Gathering Data - the wearable health tracker for your Board

It is a cliche to say, but data is everywhere in the modern world.  Everything we as individuals, and therefore the businesses we represent is tracked down to the minutia.  This flurry of data allows an organisation to analyse and understand every aspect of their business, however this is a double edged sword.  Information can be overwhelming and sometimes even paralysing.  Understanding, and interpreting the banks of data into meaningful actions is paramount.  It allows the Board to make informed decisions with confidence, where risk is measured and a tactical roadmap can be created and leaned on.

Our team have a deep experience in consulting, governance, advisory and data analytics.  Together, they help navigate your data streams, and translate them into actions that produce the biggest impact.  Our team understand that a series of marginal gains across the entire organisation can have a big impact on bottom line results. 

Think of us as your wearable health tracker for your Board

Imagine being able to understand and monitor the real time decision making of your Board and its sub-committees, and its interactions within the larger organisation.  The power of being able to understand what is working well, and where marginal changes can make meaningful impact to your business strategy, risk management and ability to create value.

Top performing athletes have been doing it for years.  As a top performing Board – shouldn’t you?

The right people in the room - how do we choose our team

We curate our exceptional teams for Board Effectiveness Reviews, ensuring each review team is uniquely crafted for that specific sector, business size, and Board priorities.  We prioritise a meticulous selection process that ensures unparalleled expertise and insight.  Our team members bring decades of collective experience, spanning diverse sectors and businesses of varying sizes, including non-profits, listed corporations, and multinationals. This extensive background equips us with a comprehensive understanding of the intricate dynamics and unique challenges prevalent in different business landscapes.

Our selection criteria are anchored in three key pillars: education, experience, and sector-specific knowledge. Each team member possesses a robust educational background complemented by hands-on experience in the field. This dual proficiency ensures that our team is not only well-versed in theoretical frameworks but also brings a practical understanding of the real-world nuances that impact board effectiveness.

Furthermore, our team’s rich experience is not confined to a single sector, allowing us to draw on a wealth of cross-industry insights. This versatility enables us to tailor our approach to the specific needs of each client, regardless of the industry or business size. We understand that effective board reviews require more than a one-size-fits-all solution, and our diverse team is adept at customising our methodologies to maximise value for every board we engage with.

In essence, our team is meticulously curated to provide a harmonious blend of education, hands-on experience, and sector-specific knowledge. This strategic combination ensures that we deliver not just a review, but a tailored and impactful solution that enhances board effectiveness, fosters strategic thinking, and adds significant value to our clients across various business landscapes.

Living with the outcomes

Frustrations voiced by numerous businesses regarding Board Eectiveness Reviews echo our understanding. These frustrations often revolve around the recurrence of the same governance gaps within boardrooms, persisting year after year, regardless of the independent evaluators’ involvement. Regrettably, the outcomes remain consistent, with governance gaps persisting.

To bridge this divide, Boards must shift their focus towards narrowing the chasm between strategy formulation and execution. Producing, managing and executing against a tactical road map help deliver tangible results – but this is often easier said than done. How do you manage the people around you? How do you delegate authority?

Despite the conventional 90-day duration of a typical Board review, the crucial question remains: What proactive steps will be taken on the day following this assessment period? What will you do on day 91?

Our unique approach to Board Evaluation allows us to negate this.  We work on a 3 year retainer, ensuring our timelines and the Boards are aligned. It ensures that we are able to measure, track and improve our combined performance, as well as ensuring that the strategy-execution gap is narrowed, through constant evolution of our processes, ensuring our context is always aligned to your ever changing strategy, goals and timelines.

Featured Insights

Frustrations voiced by numerous businesses regarding Board Effectiveness Reviews echo our understanding. These frustrations often revolve around the recurrence of the same governance gaps within boardrooms, persisting year after year, regardless of the independent evaluators’ involvement. Regrettably, the outcomes remain consistent, with governance gaps persisting.  Despite the conventional 90-day duration of a typical Board review, the crucial question remains: What proactive steps will be taken on the day following this assessment period? What will you do on day 91?

A Board Effectiveness Review is an assessment process that seeks to evaluate the performance and effectiveness of a company’s Board of Directors. The review’s ultimate goal is to ensure that the board is functioning optimally and is aligned with the organisation’s strategic goals.

As a Non-Executive Director (NED), it is important to have a good understanding of the business in which you sit on the board, as well as how the company goes to market. This knowledge can be crucial in providing valuable insight and guidance to the board and management team, and can help to ensure that the company is well-positioned for success. However, the question arises whether we should expect NEDs to have this level of understanding and if so, how it should be assessed, how business can support this and what benefits it will bring.

Everyone is busy and being busy is probably what made you successful in the first place. All your achievements and milestones, whether personal or organisational, came from hard work and commitment. There are probably a lot of people like you in your organisation – driven, focused and resourceful. As a business leader, you need people to deliver, but also to stay motivated and continue to develop. This is one of the tricks a leader has to learn.

There is a risk, though, that too much focus means that the opportunities and the threats which may often be obvious, get missed. This is why many organisations are looking at their corporate governance framework to judge whether it’s delivering for their people, providing both a safety net for when things go wrong, and a lean and agile network to support a fast, proactive approach to decision-making. It should also enable people to ask the questions that many are often too afraid to voice for fear of looking stupid or think someone else would have thought of already. This is how things get missed.

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