The art of board effectiveness: Structure, strategy and healthy dynamics make for better boards and better business

The art of board effectiveness: Structure, strategy and healthy dynamics make for better boards and better business

By Helen Pitcher OBE for Ethical Boardroom : Spring 2017

In the 25 years since the Cadbury Report on corporate governance, how have boards been doing? Are boards able to understand and analyse what makes them effective and successful? Can they articulate and illuminate the characteristics of an effective board?

Helen Pitcher advises HRDs to take a structured approach to career planning in 2017

By Helen Pitcher for HR magazine

January is as good a time as any to reassess life and career goals. However, as with nearly all New Year ‘resolutions,’ it is important to ensure it is not a seasonal ‘flash in the pan’.

What is more conducive to effective career planning is a six month rolling review of whether you are achieving your stated goals. This however implies that you have taken time, soundings and articulated your stated goals in the first place! And that you do not review your goals achievement in isolation, but use a trusted mentor, coach or experienced friend to walk through progress and obstacles.

In defence of HR: where would we be without...?

In defence of HR: where would we be without...?

By Jenny Roper for HR Magazine

HR can contribute a lot more than people often realise. Here are the areas no business can afford not to excel in

"There has to be some important problem in the CEO’s bailiwick and the function has to be able to address it. Finance became important because investors became important and the CFOs became important because they had the tools and answers to the questions.” That’s Wharton professor Peter Cappelli’s view on what it takes for a function to rise to prominence.

After all, if a function is not delivering something critical why would it be there in the first place? Which is why the debate around whether the HR function is needed is so mystifying, and so tiring.

So here, once and for all, our experts spell out just some of those many vital value-adds that HR delivers – those areas in today’s operating conditions, that organisations would be lost without.

Helen Pitcher: Is it time to blow up HR and build something new?

Helen Pitcher: Is it time to blow up HR and build something new?

By Helen Pitcher for HR Magazine

The Harvard Business Review (HBR) articles raise some good analysis of HR – even if collected under an incendiary title

The first article recognises that the Europe/UK context is different to the US and is undergoing a ‘paradigm shift’ at board level, with the board taking greater governance responsibility for key areas of the HR agenda that goes beyond the usual “people are our most important asset” statement.

As the HBR articles suggest, recognising the fundamental business context of companies is important and provides the backdrop for analysing the potential role HR can play in an organisation at any point in time.

HR’s strategic input remains poorly acknowledged

HR’s strategic input remains poorly acknowledged

By Becky Frith for HR Magazine , 04 Sep 2015

More than three-quarters (76%) of HR professionals believe HR’s strategic input is poorly acknowledged, according to research from software provider Cascade HR.

The Cascade Client Survey 2015 found that 39% of HR professionals do not need to report an overview of their department, 42% are not expected to report on workforce diversity, and 48% are not required to report on salary information.

Board responsibility – ‘a difficult balancing act’

Board responsibility – ‘a difficult balancing act’

Published in Governance, August 2015 Issue 254

A new Report looks at the increasing demands and pressures on non-execs, considers whether too much is expected from them and looks at increasing problems recruiting non-execs into the financial services sector.

Significant Increase In Female NED Appointments

Significant Increase In Female NED Appointments

By Becky Frith for HR Magazine, 5 August 2015

The proportion of female first-time FTSE 350 non-executive directors (NEDs) significantly increased last year, according to a report by Korn Ferry.

The firm’s Class of 2014 report, which analysed all first-time NED appointments to FTSE 350 companies, revealed that 39% of first-time NEDs in 2014 were women, up from 28% in 2013 and 11% in 2007

How To Get To The Top Table

How To Get To The Top Table

...and stay there. At the latest HR in the Boardroom event, board expert Helen Pitcher shared her top tips for ensuring HRDs are effective at the very highest levels.

By Jenny Roper for HR Magazine, July 2015

“In an ideal world boards should be looking to people with HR skills who can contribute to really important and key areas. In reality they often don’t”. 

Warning over new rules for non-executive directors in financial services

Warning over new rules for non-executive directors in financial services

By Adam Brown for IR Magazine, 19 June 2015

Upcoming regulations will force higher fees and lower quality of non-executive director candidates, Tyzack Partners says.

Upcoming UK regulations meant to hold non-executive directors responsible for breaches of good governance may have a ‘dramatic and damaging’ effect on board diversity, according to a report by executive search firm Tyzack Partners and board effectiveness consultancy Advanced Boardroom Excellence.

NEDs forced to become 'quasi-executives'

NEDs forced to become 'quasi-executives'

By Jenny Roper for HR Magazine, 18 Jun 2015

Boards are increasingly pushing non-executive directors (NEDs) into an executive level of responsibility, leaving them to exact a careful balance between impartiality and increased closeness to the business, a report from board effectiveness consultancy Advanced Boardroom Excellence has found.

Walking the Tightrope of Board Responsibility found that what is expected of NEDs now far outstrips NED remuneration, and a heightened environment of board governance regulation is exerting more pressure on NEDs to scrutinise, for example, company remuneration policies more closely.

The HR director as NED

The HR director as NED

By Advanced Boardroom Excellence for HR Magazine, 21 May 2015

In the final governance article we look at the issues facing HRDs seeking to create NED careers and increase influence with boards. Given that an HRD has key capabilities in the areas of executive career management, talent development, remuneration, culture and behaviour, what is holding HRDs back from NED roles?

How HRDs can enhance influence at board level

How HRDs can enhance influence at board level

By Jenny Roper for HR Magazine, 19 May 2015

HR directors should network with other people in the business, have a strong financial and broader political understanding, and beware of being too close to their chief executive, according to Helen Pitcher, chairman of Advanced Boardroom Excellence.

Pitcher was giving tips on how HRDs can enhance their influence at board level at an HR in the Boardroom event held at The Dorchester Park Lane and supported by Advanced Boardroom Excellence.

How can HRDs enhance board effectiveness?

How can HRDs enhance board effectiveness?

By Advanced Boardroom Excellence for HR Magazine, 30 April 2015

For the second in the HR Magazine governance insight series, Helen Pitcher chairman of Advanced Boardroom Excellence focuses on what makes an effective board and where the influences and pressures on boards are emerging from.

What every HRD should know about board governance

What every HRD should know about board governance

By Advanced Boardroom Excellence for HR Magazine, 21 Apr 2015

In this article for HR Magazine, Helen Pitcher chairman of Advanced Boardroom Excellence, explains that good governance informs and improves the HRD’s effectiveness in their day-to-day role, so in turn, the HRD’s areas of expertise in the boardroom can help colleagues to understand how best to implement the company’s overall strategic plan. 

Life at the Centre of the Arena: Coaching the CEO

Life at the Centre of the Arena: Coaching the CEO

by Jock Encombe

A Developing Leaders Quarterly article
Issue 18: 2015

The performance expectations placed on CEOs are immense and can be overwhelming, even for the most robust individual. Jock Encombe's article for the Developing Leaders explores the need for effective CEO coaching and tries to identify what is distinctive about this type of training. The article draws on the author’s experience and interviews with three leading UK-based coaches.