2019                                                                                                             Issue 19


 

BoardWorks International

 
Welcome to Issue 19 of Board Works
 
  
 
Welcome to this issue of Board Works.
 
Happy New Year and welcome to this issue of Board Works.
 
The lead article reflects a growing concern I have had about the way in which the information to support board meetings is being packaged. Increasingly we are asked to look at the quality (and quantity) of reporting to boards. A major issue for many boards is the overwhelming volume of material directors are faced with. Conscious of the growing tendency to adopt a bullet point format in response, I explore in Would Your Board Be Better Off 'Dodging the Bullets?' some of the reasons why this may not be such a good idea. It is a longer article than I normally offer in Board Works but, ironically, in the light of its purpose, I found it difficult to explain my thinking in a shorter piece.
 
'Sustainability' is a constant refrain these days. I was asked by a publisher last year to write a piece on how boards contribute to organisational sustainability. The focus was on 'for purpose' (as opposed to ‘for profit’) organisations. However, many of the points made in How Boards Contribute to Organisational Sustainability, which is based on the original article, apply just as well to commercial enterprises.
 
Finally, conscious of the deluge of material that emerged during 2018 about the possible implications of artificial intelligence (AI) I have explored how the use of AI might have produced a different outcome in the corporate disaster that was Enron, the infamous US energy company. In What Might Artificial Intelligence Have Told Us About 'The Smartest Guys in the Room'? I have picked up on recent reports of how a Dutch firm is able to use AI to identify potentially significant changes in neurolinguistic patterns inside organisations. Applied retrospectively this AI system was able to spot an abrupt change in the tone of email traffic among Enron’s top people. Had such a tool been available when this occurred in 1999, it might have signalled to the Enron board that the company was in serious trouble more than two years before the company abruptly collapsed.
 
 
Good reading.
 
Graeme Nahkies
BoardWorks International
 

 

 
In This Issue
Would Your Board Be Better Off 'Dodging the Bullets?'
How Boards Contribute to Organisational Sustainability
What Might Artificial Intelligence Have Told Us About 'The Smartest Guys in the Room'?



 
Article3Number18Would Your Board Be Better Off 'Dodging the Bullets?'


Boards, to be effective, are dependent to a significant extent on their ability to access information in a form and amount that meets their needs...

 

 
Read and Print the full Article

 
 Article3Number18How Boards Contribute to Organisational Sustainability


Recently a peak body in the philanthropic sector asked me to offer their members some thoughts on how boards contribute to building sustainable organisations...
 

 

 
 
  
 
 
 Article3Number18'What Might Artificial Intelligence Have Told Us' About 'The Smartest Guys in the Room'?


Enron, the infamous US energy and commodities company that failed in 2001 is the gift that keeps giving. It continues to attract interest and deliver valuable lessons in corporate governance 18 years later...



 
 
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