“New blood” can lead to resistance





The larger the company and more senior the Board Directors and Chairman, the lower the appetite to receive constructive criticism.

Although long-serving Directors will know their company inside out, they have reached a point where they are competent to challenge, but uncomfortable in receiving constructive criticism.

When “new blood”, as in new Directors or those with different skills are introduced, there is a natural resistance to these disruptive forces.

A Board evaluation can equally be uncomfortable where Directors are able to view themselves through the eyes of an outsider. All are perceived in some way or another as a threat.

Directors and particularly Chairmen can become entrenched in their ways; where they have been in the role for up to nine years, they have found a place of personal comfort and naturally do not want disruption during their “watch”. These human, emotional reactions are totally counter-intuitive to what we rationally know as a way to support continuous improvement.

It is always rewarding to see the healthy approach taken by some Directors when constructive comment is taken positively.

What’s your view on the tenure of Directors – Is nine years too long or not long enough, particularly in the case of the Chairman?

By |2019-09-11T13:33:58+00:00July 31st, 2019|News & Events|0 Comments

Day two of the ICSA Annual Conference 2019.




Day two of the ICSA Annual Conference 2019.

Yesterday was a productive day of networking and meetings at our stand.

This afternoon Sharon Constançon will be participating in a session, “How to identify toxic behaviour in the boardroom”, exploring how antagonism, unproductivity and disengagement are some of the behaviours that can undermine even the most experienced and enthusiastic boards.

Don’t forget if you are attending, drop by our stand and say hello.

By |2019-08-01T12:31:36+00:00July 10th, 2019|News & Events|0 Comments

What is the value of questionnaires in a Board evaluation three-year cycle?

What is the value of questionnaires in a Board evaluation three-year cycle, with years two and three being light-touch, questionnaire-based reviews benchmarking progress from year one?

A questionnaire in combination with an interview approach (i.e. year one) tends to add limited additional content, but it does provide reporting and statistics in a visual red, amber, green format.

Are both a qualitative report and a quantitative report preferable in year one?
We note a lower appetite to complete a questionnaire in addition to Directors providing the time for interviews.

We suggest the two streams of assessing the information is useful if there are major issues that need highlighting graphically, or where there are more academic kind of Directors that will need to see a standardised process driving the sourcing information.

The higher value is achieved from a questionnaire designed from year one outcomes and bespoke to the recommendations raised for that board. This can then be used in years two and three to map the progress made on key recommendations and planned actions.

By |2019-09-11T13:18:09+00:00June 19th, 2019|News & Events|0 Comments

How does a chairman in conjunction with the company secretary assess who best to evaluate the Board?

How does a chairman in conjunction with the company secretary assess who best to evaluate the Board?

An option is via the procurement process rather than via the Chair or Company Secretary, usually by tender, where there is no contact and a rigid system/process which requires everyone to mould themselves into. This is usually geared towards low price being a key factor.

Another method requires a proposal to be submitted to the Company Secretary or the Chairman direct, they shortlist and hold meetings in person with about three candidates.

The third option falls in-between options one and two, where there is no face to face meeting and the decision is made from the submitted proposal, usually by a panel of people.

We question whether companies end up with the best result is they have not assessed the personality and technical match by having worked through the paper-only process?

The most beneficial option must be the second one described, where the Chairman has the opportunity to meet and ensure a match between the company and evaluator is assured. Both the Board and evaluator need to work together as a team to deliver optimal outcomes, which are then owned by the Board in order that improvements can be achieved.

By |2019-09-11T13:18:15+00:00June 12th, 2019|News & Events|0 Comments

The importance of bringing your team on your journey.

For a board to maintain effective communication with the company as a whole, it is vital not only that communication channels remain two-way, but that any communication involves and encompasses the whole team and takes them all on the journey.

Take, for example, the CEO who asks an executive to take responsibility for a new project. The executive agrees to do what is right by the business long term plan, even though this is counter to their personal long-term career plan. As in this case, where the role is not natural to that person, they will need additional support to be successful.

In this case, the CEO should hold frequent contacts, giving guidance and supporting the executive until they “own” the project, thus respectfully transitioning into and bringing them along the journey and ensuring they fully “buy-in” to it.

Such unaligned “projects” should remain manageably short, otherwise the case of “opting out” could happen.

By |2019-09-11T13:19:08+00:00June 8th, 2019|News & Events|0 Comments

Devonshire House Panel Debate – 25 June 2019 – Should NEDs stop things going wrong?

Should NEDs stop things going wrong?

This is the subject of the Devonshire House Panel Debate on Corporate Governance to be held on Tuesday 25 June 2019.

Sharon Constançon of Genius Boards will be chairing the debate, which is hosted by Pinsent Masons at their Earl Street offices.

We will be examining from an external perspective how Boards act and react to external impacts, internal surprises, difficult topics, people agendas – typically issues that the Board cannot influence occurring in the way they do. “We never saw that coming!”  – should never need to be said.

Do, please join us if you can for what we hope will be a robust and interactive debate.

By |2019-08-01T12:32:16+00:00June 1st, 2019|News & Events|0 Comments

Africa as a growth continent

Many international businesses are showing an interest in Africa, as a business opportunity to grow their markets, business and bottom line.

Coming off a low business maturity base Africa offers high risk but high returns.

Not always easy, not always win, but has a direct influence on the investee countries when it works well.

Although Chinese and Indian businesses have long recognised the opportunities present, the U.K. has been very late to the African party and only recently considering joint economic initiatives with countries that have the relationships but not the wisdom, experience, legal systems, transparency and ethics that the UK can offer and partner with risk appetite and funding.

How should UK businesses enter the various markets of Africa to protect their risks where feasible but be open to good business opportunities?

By |2019-09-11T13:19:15+00:00May 27th, 2019|News & Events|0 Comments

Brexit delays making money work

Many British organisations appear to be handcuffed by Brexit.

Many consultancy styled businesses are finding two things: – How to earn a fortune to tell a company there is still not clarity – but they have at least spent the money “preparing for Brexit”.

Many other firms are finding that companies are bringing such services in house, so they are seen to be very engaged and busy therefore protecting themselves from redundancy.

How can these two fears be addressed to prevent wasting money or death by inertia? The investment market indicates that many companies are holding big decisions until after Brexit even though Brexit has been “kicked down the street”.

The lack of making money work is costing the economy dearly and impacting currency volatility generally narrowing the range of currency movements, with a total apathy being prevalent.

Uncertainty can create the volatility seen in the past week as bad news around the Brexit next steps pervade. Avoiding trading or making decisions is often not good governance. Management needs to recognise that they are accountable for both decisions and non-decisions.

However, when the economy is reinvigorated, money is likely to be invested quickly, bringing with it a different set of challenges…

By |2019-08-01T12:32:52+00:00May 25th, 2019|News & Events|0 Comments
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