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Containing a Crisis in a Digital Age

Recent research by Freshfield Bruckhaus Deringer, the top law firm, says that “More than one-quarter of crises spread to international media within an hour and over two-thirds within 24 hours”, and yet “it still takes an average of 21 hours for companies to respond”.

Social media is a constant platform for communication and therefore represents a huge platform for reputational risk. So many companies operate in more than one country, and social media means that a crisis in one country can spread quickly to create a crisis in another. Media such as Twitter also mean that there is a constant spotlight on the crisis, making managing the crisis effectively extremely important, and with the consequences of the crisis lingering over the long-term.

It is important that companies respond in a timely manner to crises and stem negative social media impact, as well as recognising legal constraints and opportunities.


By |2014-06-16T16:57:51+00:00February 12th, 2014|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Genius Methods Publishes White Paper on Social Media: The Role of the Board, Business Risks and Opportunities

The Corporate Governance terrain has been changing rapidly in recent years and one of the latest introductions to the environment that Board operate in today is Social Media. These days, Social Media is not something that Boards can ignore. In light of this, Genius Methods has produced a White Paper, compiling everything that we have learned from our experience with Boards, on how Social Media impacts governance, how the Board should manage Social media issues, and the risks and opportunities that need to be managed. ‘Social Media: The Role of the Board, Business Risks and Opportunities’ is a great resource for any Board which aims to keep on top of developments in their environment.

If you would like to discuss any of the issues presented in this White Paper further, please email Sharon at We work with Boards of a wide variety of organisations and provide support that is tailored to each organisations’ requirements.

By |2014-02-04T15:06:44+00:00February 4th, 2014|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Sharon Constancon – Awarded Woman in Business 2013

Sharon receiving Woman in Business Award

Sharon Constançon was awarded by the SA Chamber in the UK, the prestigious award of “Woman in Business” for 2013 on Thursday 28th November.

The Award was presented by Chris Potter, Head of Operations at CIB International, Standard Bank London.

“I am honoured to receive this award and will focus this first year on supporting and encouraging other women and entrepreneurs to follow their dreams.” 

Business is not easy at the best of times and very challenging under current market conditions – being recognised by the business community as an achiever is truly fantastic.

“This award is a valid recognition of Sharon’s ability to add value to practically any business relationship. It also reflects her ability to get things done and deliver.”  Alan Hindley, Chairman Genius Methods

South Africa has exported amazing talent into all corners of the world.  I am pleased to hold this accolade on behalf of the country’s widely flung hard working women. 

The nomination was a surprise, and thanks to whoever your are – I hope I asked you to vote!  Requesting votes was an “uncomfortable” process, nearly as difficult as raising funds for charity!!  The outcome has had humbled me, with your support, encouragement and recognition – I will, with the support of my teams, go from strength to strength, in the UK, SA and plans include global expansion.

Thanks to the SA Chamber, the South African, my staff, family, friends, clients and colleagues.   

SACC Article

Further photographs from the Awards Evening

By |2015-02-02T21:42:44+00:00November 30th, 2013|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Woman in Business of the Year 2013

Genius Methods CEO, Sharon Constançon, has been nominated for Woman in Business of the Year in the South African Chamber of Commerce Business Awards 2013. One of four finalists, this nomination is a great honour. Sharon’s first key achievement was as MD of Constancon Currencies in SA, which she grew quickly from concept to fully fledged forex outsourced company and built it up to list within 10 years in the late 90’s. Currently, Sharon is founding CEO of Genius Methods, now a key governance market player, and in two years built a penetration into the FTSE 350.

As part of the nomination, Sharon was interviewed about her career and you can read her responses.

The winner of the award is decided by the voting public and Sharon received hundreds of votes and testimonials. (Scroll down).  Voting is now closed and the award ceremony is taking place on Thursday, November 28th in London.

By |2013-11-30T10:30:05+00:00November 27th, 2013|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Media turns on Building Societies – Reputational Risk

As a NED of a Building Society I understand the reputational risk any Director is exposed to particularly Directors in the financial services sector.  Partly complexity of the industry and partly due to risk by association in current times.

The media are extending the Co-op issues and branding all Mutuals and Building Societies with the same brush.  Such associations risk more harm to stakeholders than add value. 

There are some very strong and professional Building Society Boards.

There is no excuse for lax corporate governance in any entity or sector and post the  Walker Review and the split of the regulator into the PRA and the FCA, the financial services sector has no excuses.

Today the Sunday Times has focused a light on the Mutual and Building Society sectors and made reference to Britain’s rotten mutuals and states that 55% of Building Society boards do not conform to good corporate governance standards.  Most of the article is a history of the stresses and strains felt by the sector through the crisis.  In the article Revealed: boardroom shambles at mutuals the authors give more history and focus on tenure as the main governance culprit.  This was countered by the BSA stating that experience and independence were more valuable to a society being steered safely than tenure.

It still remains that a Board needs to be sure that it does not offer “non compliance hooks” that can create reputational damage.

Sometimes it is easier to have the governance messages provided clearly to the Board by an outsider rather than from inside.  This is where the Walker Review suggesting annual  internal and external board effectiveness reviews every three years as being the way a Board can review its governance in a constructive manner.

By |2013-11-24T15:21:01+00:00November 24th, 2013|Uncategorized|0 Comments

The Language of Corporate Governance: Dissertation Research

As Board Evaluation specialists, we at Genius Methods are passionate about the evolving field of corporate governance and  enjoy sharing our learning with others, particularly through the panel debates and training sessions.

Genius Methods’ Project Manager, Fiona Burgess, has recently completed a Masters of Research dissertation on ‘The Language of Corporate Governance: A Sociological Analysis’ which we believe might be of interest to you. Please view an Executive Summary here. The research is based on a survey of 56 governance professionals in the UK comparing how key terms such as ‘ownership’, ‘performance’ and ‘corporate governance’ are defined in the literature and amongst survey respondents. 

Brink (2011:vii) explains that: ‘Despite innumerable written contributions on [corporate governance], economic sciences have failed to provide a clear definition of the corporate governance concept or even to sufficiently demarcate the underlying context of consideration’.

If you would like to read the full dissertation, please email Fiona at

As elucidated in this research, corporate governance is a social construct in which communication and consensus on language has a critical impact on effectiveness. Genius Methods works with Boards in a variety of ways to help them improve corporate governance effectiveness.  Our Board Evaluations or Board Development projects often begins with a bespoke online assessment tailored to the desired outcome and within a defined budget.

To  discuss your next Board Evaluation and how Genius Methods can help your Board enjoy this exercise and gain a vast amount of practical tips to improve their effectiveness, please feel  free contact me on or contact Fiona Burgess direct on

By |2014-06-11T15:41:10+00:00November 8th, 2013|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Risk Culture in Financial Organisations

A report on the latest comprehensive research on risk culture has recently been published. In response to the failures in culture that led to the financial crisis, the authors explain the variety of trade-offs at stake in buiding risk culture. The research was undertaken over a period of 18 months and involved many banks and insurers in the UK to explore how the risk culture change agenda has been taking shape in these organisations. Read the full report here

Genius Methods works with a variety of organisations, including financial organisations, to explore tailored risk strategies. For further information, please email Sharon Constancon at

By |2013-11-05T11:30:04+00:00November 5th, 2013|Uncategorized|0 Comments

The Power and Risks of Social Media

Following our latest Corporate Governance Panel Debate, on the topic of Reputational Risk, Genius Methods CEO Sharon Constancon has written on the perils of delegating online reputation management to inexperienced personnel. The reputational risks at play with the rise of social media are enormous and yet to be fully taken account of at the governance level. What questions should the Board be asking about their social media policy? What should this policy include? How can social media be used effectively and how can the risks be mitigated? Sharon explains how to manage these risks in this recent blog piece published by Executive Talent Specialists, Intramezzo:

By |2013-09-02T14:23:40+00:00September 2nd, 2013|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Genius Methods releases White Paper on Reputational Risk

We have now released the White Paper for the latest in Genius Methods’ Corporate Governance Panel Debate Series, held on May 14th at the RAF Club, London, on the topic of Reputational Risk.

Warren Buffet famously said: “If you lose dollars for the firm, I will be understanding. If you lose reputation for the firm, I will be ruthless”. However, reputation should not only be analysed in the negative. If reputation is managed positively, there are big opportunities to leap frog the competition.

Key speaker, Seamus Gillen, Senior Adviser to Reputation Institute UK, and Director of Policy at ICSA, explained that to safeguard reputational value it is important than ever for companies to truly understand their own purpose and values. Far too often, boards do not discuss the key question: ‘What do we stand for?’. If companies, don’t know what they stand for, the world will tell them and it may not match with the image they had in mind.

For more information about the findings and conclusions from the debate, read the White Paper published by Genius Methods here: Reputational Risk White Paper by Genius Methods

By |2013-07-15T13:47:57+00:00July 1st, 2013|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Genius Methods Corporate Governance Panel Debate: Minefield of Corporate Reputational Risk

Tonight, May 14th, at the RAF Club, London, Genius Methods hosted the latest in its Panel Debate Series – this time on the fascinating and wide ranging topic of Reputational Risk that Boards and businesses have to take cognisance of. 

The reality is that the unexpected will happen and given that communication is instant and unstructured, it is a minefield of risk for any executive to manage the outcome.

The panel of specialists from four different reputation perspectives, including Seamus Gillen, Senior Adviser to Reputation Institute UK, and Director of Policy at ICSA, debated the key issues around what an organisation’s reputation is and what the risks are to business profitability and to directors as individuals.

The panel discussed the reality of risk to a company’s reputation in the current world of instant information and unrealistic “benchmarking of acceptability” by Joe Public.

The discussion clearly identified that mitigation, planning and awareness begins in the Boardroom.  It is not easy (to some impossible) to plan and prepare for unknown and unexpected events.  Boards and management need to have a plan to immediately respond, be proactive, provide information, be honest, take responsibility and say sorry.  This last one did cause a stir with the solicitors and Americans in the room!

Key is communication, to face to the media, know what social media is saying and use these mediums to manage, in real time, the company’s message to the world.

The Board needs to understand how stakeholders react and provide the required information to mitigate their fears and perceptions. 

Each table discussed and shared experiences which were wide ranging in content and passion.  A key focus of this part of the evening was around social media and the risk and opportunity this generates.

Some feedback from the evening:
‘Fascinating topic, great speakers and food for thought!’
‘Thank you for organising such an event.  The breath of discussion and the diversity of the audience is a credit to your organisation.’
‘Many thanks for the opportunity to participate in such a well organised and topical event.’

Genius Methods will produce a White Paper to summarise the panel contribution, group debates and questions raised. This is a useful resource which we publish online for interested parties.  Please watch this space.

View the full event invitation here and panellist bios here.

For any further information, please email Sharon at

By |2013-05-20T10:30:05+00:00May 14th, 2013|Uncategorized|0 Comments
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