2012                                                                                                                  Issue 10
BoardWorks International

Welcome to Issue 10 of Board Works


Welcome to this first issue of Board Works for 2012.


Many of us 'fall' into board positions rather than actively seeking them. When and how we leave is likely to be just as random. Is that good enough? Should we not be far more conscious about when our time is up? When Do You Know Its Time To Go?prompted in part by recent personal experience, explores some of the issues that should influence our thinking.


My colleagues and I have been advocating for many years that boards make some 'board-only time a regular part of their meeting routine. However, we still encounter anxiety on the part of many boards and their chief executives who have not yet embraced this valuable opportunity which is now widely regarded as 'best practice'. A number of reasons are given against the concept but these often reflect misplaced assumptions about the purpose of a routine board-only discussion. The article Are Board-Only Sessions an Acceptable and Worthwhile Practice? is intended to assist boards who are not yet convinced, to think again. It may also be useful to boards that do regularly spend some time without staff present, to fine-tune their practice.


Early in the year, perhaps as part of an annual work planning process, it is timely to think about the board's own professional development needs (Are You Investing In Your Board?).The very least our stakeholders should expect of us is a commitment to continuous improvement in our stewardship of the organisations we govern. An increasing number of court decisions going against boards and directors underline that, in corporate governance, 'good intentions' are not enough.


Finally, a word of warning to boards that the super-confident, 'on top of things' chief executives who we employ, may not be nearly as a confident and secure as they seem. It is a lonely role and for many chief executives this is compounded by the way their boards deal with them. In Don't Underestimate Your Chief Executive's Insecurity I attempt to identify the types of conditions that are likely to moderate that insecurity.


We hope you will find the material we provide both interesting and useful. By the way, there is no charge for Board Works. Please feel free to forward it to friends and colleagues.

Good reading
Graeme Nahkies


In This Issue
When Do You Know Its Time To Go?
Are 'Board-Only ' Sessions an Acceptable and Worhwhile Practice?
Are You Investing In Your Board?
Don't Underestimate Your Chief Executive's Insecurit
Have your Say
 Article1 When Do You Know It's Time To Go?


Time to goI recently resigned one of my board memberships. It was a voluntary role I was reluctant to give up being both committed to the mission of the organisation and enjoying the collegiality and fellowship of my colleagues. I resigned with a strong sense of guilt that I was letting people down by pulling out at a time when several others were also resigning. Nevertheless, in terms of my own conscience, I had to face the fact that for various reasons I was not pulling my weight. It was unfair to my hard working, conspicuously more committed colleagues Feeling not a little hypocritical I was also very conscious of the advice I often deliver in workshops. I say to current and prospective board members "you shouldn't be on the board if you can't commit the necessary time to do the job properly". Unsurprisingly, my conscience was starting to bother me! 


Read and Print the full Article

Article2Are 'Board-Only' Sessions An Acceptable And Worthwhile Practice?

Board Alone Issue 10A topic of conversation in a number of recent consulting assignments has been the issue of 'board-only' sessions. These are increasingly common and widely accepted as 'best practice' internationally. However, planned opportunities for boards to meet without their chief executive present still cause unease in some organisations. The practice is seen to be even more problematic when the chief executive is also a member of the board (e.g. as a 'managing director').  

Article3A Are You Investing In Your Board?

Board Prof DevThe beginning of a new year is a good time to be thinking not only about the board's work plan for the year but about its continuing professional development. Most cities have a multitude of governance related training courses that may be accessed and attended by individuals. There is often greater value for the board, however, if professional development opportunities can be enjoyed by the whole board at the same time. Even for boards of highly experienced professional directors a range of benefits is available. The benefit is usually even greater for boards with relatively inexperienced, volunteer members. Think about what your board might gain from undertaking some shared professional development this year. 


Article4 Don't Underestimate Your Chief Executive's Insecurity

A recent survey of chief executives of mid-sized US companies ($50M to $2B turnover) reported very positive relationships with their boards. (1) The survey highlighted, however, two interesting and arguably more generally applicable aspects of the chief executive condition which might not be considered quite so positive..



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