The Effective Board

The Effective Board: Cyber risks – what a board should be asking

Something we keep coming across in our board reviews is cyber risk – and how a board can exercise oversight of this fast-moving and difficult-to-understand critical threat.  Most directors worry about the organisation’s exposure, especially when they sense it’s not a matter of “if” but “when”.  But few of them feel confident that their technical knowledge is sufficient to test what they are being told.  Are they merely forming a...

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The Effective Board: What Does a Good Board Pack Look Like?

Nowadays board papers don’t arrive with a literal thump.  But often the impact is the same.  This month, to take a look at the perennial issue of board papers, we have invited as “guest editors” Board Intelligence: specialists in board packs and board portal providers. “I’ve opened too many board packs which give me a sinking feeling – and I’m not even one of the directors.  If I had the weight of a director’s...

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The Effective Board: The Ins and Outs of Private Sessions

Non-executives should meet by themselves from time to time without the executives.  It doesn’t matter what the type of Board – the principle applies whether you’re a FTSE 100 plc, a trustee board of a charity or a private company.  For some boards, it’s a routine discussion that they take for granted, but a large number of boards struggle with the concept – and the practice.  It’s something the Code refers to specifically...

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The Effective Board: for the board agenda in 2019

A good board is always looking well into the future.  During our board reviews we invariably hear that directors want to spend more time looking ahead rather than hearing about how things have turned out.  And, as the immediate and longer-term future looks ever more difficult to anticipate (never mind forecast) maybe there needs to be a nuanced shift in how a board spends its time and how it discusses issues and proposals. Perhaps it now...

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The Effective Board: Chair role and skills

Given the critical importance of the Chair to effective governance, it’s surprising how little structured development there is for Chairmen and women.  Rather, there is a heavy reliance on people simply “knowing what to do”.  And a successful executive career doesn’t necessarily equip you for the role of Chair either. Last month’s bulletin looked at how good Chairs run their meetings.  But, of course, being Chair of the Board is...

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