2019                                                                                                             Issue 20


BoardWorks International

Welcome to Issue 20 of Board Works
Welcome to this issue of Board Works.
Happy New Year and welcome to this issue of Board Works.
I have followed Jim Collins' publications on his research into organisationalsuccess and sustainability since his joint publication with Jerry Porras back in the 1990s ("Built to Last"). Collins has a knack of coming up with graphic descriptions of his findings that stick with you. However, it was a recent podcast interview with him that prompted me to spend some time thinking afresh about a couple of those concepts - the 'flywheel' and the 'doom loop'. Like many American writers on organisational performance Collins pays little attention to the part played by governing boards.
It seems likely to me, however, that board effectiveness is a significant factor in whether organisations achieve 'flywheel'-like momentum or drop into a 'doom loop'. In Is Your Board Pulling Your Organisation into a 'Doom-Loop'? I describe three ways in which the board/chief executive employment relationship is a significant factor.
Over this past year I have been able to watch an organisation that was on the ropes, pick itself up and start to repair the damage that weak governance and poor management, but particularly the former, had done to its reputation. The case study organisation I allude to in Overcoming Wilful Ignorance - the Power of Good Governance is not dissimilar to many others. Its governance is in the hands of well-intentioned people but who, as governors, tend to be more interested in what their organisation does than what it achieves. Consequently, there is a lack of challenge to the status quo and in the worst cases, steadfast resistance to change. In the case study organisation this took the form of what could only be described as wilful ignorance of the science relating to one of its main programs. I explore ten key reasons why stronger governance has been instrumental in starting to improve its fortunes.
Involvement in a series of induction sessions for newly reconstituted governing bodies this year reminded me how easy it is for boards to fall into unthinking patterns they inherit from those who have gone before. While I was working with what were effectively new governance teams what I saw, among other things, was the automatic adoption of their predecessors' board committee structures. When pressed to explain why any committees were required, I heard a variety of unconvincing explanations. In Nine Questionable Reasons for Setting Up Board Committees I explore the doubtfulsubstance of many of those explanations.

 Good reading, and best wishes for the Festive Season.
Graeme Nahkies
BoardWorks International

In This Issue
Is Your Board Pulling Your Organisation into a 'Doom-Loop'?
Overcoming Wilful Ignorance - the Power of Good Governance
Nine Questionable Reasons for Setting Up Board Committees
Have your Say
Article3Number18Is Your Board Pulling Your Organisation into a 'Doom-Loop'?

The 'flywheel' effect...

In the last 25 years, much of the research informing our understandingof organisationalsuccess (and failure) has come from the stable of Jim Collins.


Read and Print the full Article

Article3Number18Overcoming Wilful Ignorance - the Power of Good Governance

'Wilful ignorance' is the intentional and blatant avoidance, disregard or disagreement with facts, empirical evidence and well-founded arguments because they oppose or contradict individuals' and groups' existing beliefs.........


Article3Number18Nine Questionable Reasons for Setting Up Board Committees.

Many governing boards make extensive use of committees; others have few, if any. There is no doubt board committees can help to enhance a board's effectiveness. ....

14 Art 3   
'If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth - only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair.' 

C.S.Lewis, 1898 - 1963





Contact Us