Nurturing Roles for Growing Better Boardrooms

Nurturing Roles for Growing Better Boardrooms

Arriving at the Charity Gala Preview of this year’s Chelsea Flower Show in time to greet guests, the phrase ‘let a thousand flowers bloom’ came to mind. But of course, it is a misquotation, like many sound bites today. What Chairman Mao said in a speech in Peking in February 1957, was: "Letting a hundred flowers blossom and a hundred schools of thought contend is the policy for promoting progress in the arts and the sciences and a flourishing socialist culture in our land."

Governance to reflect the times - 'They are a changing'

By Helen Pitcher

Anniversaries are useful markers, and even the happiest ones offer potential for both celebration and review. The wisdom of Sir Adrian Cadbury, who provided the basis for the UK’s Corporate Governance Code, has served us exceedingly well. The Code has been six times reviewed and updated since 1992. But 25 years is a long time in a fast-changing world, and as the United Kingdom takes its first steps to leave the European Union, it is clear that businesses have a plethora of concerns. For both commercial success and best corporate governance, they are going to need diverse and professional boardrooms.

Board Dynamics and Why It Matters

When most people think about effective leadership of an organisation, the first thing that usually comes to mind is the executive team comprising of the C-Suite of roles along with any business critical functions and key directors holding those roles. But in the context of good governance, effective leadership depends on a well-tuned Board; a critical success factor to achieve this is healthy board dynamics.

Merging Boards: An Art or a Science?

Board mergers, usually come as a ‘package’, based on the joining of two, or occasionally more organisations. In working with client Boards who recognise the challenges this creates, we have been able to support the merged Board to rise above this potential legal quagmire, and to focus on behavioural goals of board effectiveness, to provide leadership and ‘signal’ to the organisation an integrated future.  This is particularly true where there is a previous experience of different governance jurisdictions and guidelines, for example the distinctions between the role of the Chairman and CEO.

Narcissism, can it be tamed? How might Board Evaluation help?

An article by Helen Pitcher

A recent research paper by MWM called Taming Narcissus provides boards with essential advice on how to spot narcissism and suggests ways to nip it in the bud or 'tame' it.

The report points out that narcissism is the flip side of many of the key strengths such as drive, determination and ambition that propel individuals to the very top. Sigmund Freud recognised that everyone is somewhat narcissistic. He tells us that this psychological type is especially suited “to take on the role of leaders” and recognised the dark side of this tendency.

The Co-operative Conundrum

The Co-operative Conundrum

n article by Helen Pitcher

I read with sadness the piece by Matthew Goodman in The Sunday’s Times about the Co-operative Group. Goodman suggests that the appointment of Mark Bicknell, a veteran of the Co-op, who has been on various area committees since 2005, was perhaps not quite the radical overhaul modernisers hoped for.

Yet the governance of the Co-op which has worked very effectively since 1844 is neither simple nor straightforward; it requires an understanding of a complex governance structure and an ability to explain to the lay person what makes commercial sense. This is a real art and skill, not something to be undertaken by the faint hearted.

A Milestone for Women on Boards

An article by Helen Pitcher

A stepping stone not a stopping point, is how I would describe the predicted appointment of a female to the last FTSE 100 all male Boardroom.

As highlighted in a recent article in the Evening Standard on 19th May by Jane Scott, UK Director of Professional Boards Forum, when Glencore/Xstrata appoints a female to its Board - which it is reported they are about to do - there will be a female in every FTSE 100 Boardroom.  This is by no means a cause for complacency or indeed anywhere near the target of 25% females on FTSE 100 Board set by Lord Davies.  There are 62 Companies in the FTSE 100 who still fall short of the 25% target, which indeed it could be argued is too low a target anyway, but is at least a step in the right direction.

Emotional Intelligence as a Defining Top leadership Quality

Emotional Intelligence as a Defining Top leadership Quality

An article by Mark Winkle

Emotional intelligence has long been recognised as a key capability of effective CIO’s and technical specialists. It is this capability which raises them above their peers and enables them to move into world class territory.

The original Goleman research, at nearly 200 companies worldwide, indicated that one-third of the difference between average and top performers was due to technical skill and cognitive ability, while two-thirds was due to emotional competence. In top leadership positions, that difference was four-fifths. This importance has been reinforced by the subsequent research on Board of Directors and senior leadership roles.

While this masks the fact that technical and cognitive abilities are qualifying criteria for senior roles and a key element for individual development, it emphasises the reality of emotional intelligence, as a defining quality at senior levels in organisations.

Strategic Networking for Reluctant Networkers

Strategic Networking for Reluctant Networkers

An article by Mark Winkle

Having worked with FDs, CIOs, head’s of supply chain and a wide range of ‘technical’ leaders over the years, it never fails to amaze me, that when we examine a recent ‘development report’, the sum of the constructive suggestions is often ‘go out and network more’, with little if any insight or intuition as to how this might be achieved.

While these individuals are by no means universally introvert, they are typically strong logical and structured thinkers. Consequently, their networking approach needs to be driven by rationality and reason, and in the absence of such a framework comes the oft repeated phrase: “but what do I talk to them about?”