Your Post-Crisis Board Evaluation

Boards of directors and management teams have been facing unprecedented challenges this year. First, they are navigating the global pandemic and economic crisis and its aftermath. COVID-19 has forced companies to quickly adapt and alter the way they go to market and serve their customers. Supply chains have been disrupted, customer interfaces have shifted, and consumer preferences and habits have changed as well.

Your Post-Crisis Board Evaluation

The Corporate Board has published an article authored by RHR International's Jeff Kirschner, Deborah Rubin, and Paul Winum entitled, "Your Post-Crisis Board Evaluation."

The crises and social challenges facing corporations in 2020 have been more than just existential threats. They have also been an invaluable education for managers and boards from experience—the world’s toughest but most instructive teacher. Wise boards will take this opportunity to reshape their board evaluation procedures and questions to gain value from the lessons learned in battling and coming back from crisis.

Read the article.

The New Normal in Governance: A Paradigm Shift?

As the coronavirus makes its way across the globe, nearly every person and every business on the planet has been impacted. Since 1945, when the Second World War ended and RHR International was founded, the consultants in our firm have worked with our clients to assist them in seizing the opportunities and meeting the challenges inherent in leading their organizations.

Do You Have the Right People in Your Foxhole? Consider C-Suite Peer Groups

Being a leader is a lonely job under the best of circumstances. Forging close friendships with work colleagues isn’t part of a CEO’s remit, nor should it be. Even executives who are committed to inclusive and transparent leadership understand that the unique demands of running an organization require a certain degree of circumspection. During a crisis, communicating with the right blend of candor, optimism, and urgency while preserving the optionality to make tough decisions becomes an exponentially more challenging needle for leaders to thread.

CEO Succession and the COVID-19 Pandemic

As the coronavirus crisis impacts our society, it creates some unique challenges for boards. One of the major issues under consideration is whether the chief executive officer who took you to this point is the same leader who can take your company through this challenge and beyond. Ultimately, leaders are judged by the way they perform during the worst of times, and the current crisis represents a challenge that no current CEO has seen previously in their careers. How CEOs and their teams perform during these moments of truth will be an unforgiving test of their character.

Setting the Foundation: Building a Strong Board-CEO Partnership

Establishing a positive connection between the board and the CEO is never more important than when onboarding a new chief executive officer. Actions taken during the first few weeks and months of a new CEO’s tenure will establish the groundwork for a successful ongoing relationship. Here are some tips for getting off to a fast start.

Retiring Underperforming Directors

The best boards are composed of a diverse group of committed directors who all bring experience, insights and high value relevant to the business of the organization they govern. When nominating and governance committee chairs select new directors to serve on boards, it is usually done after thoughtful consideration, using a skills-matrix approach, of what knowledge and capabilities the board needs to provide proper guidance and oversight.

In Generalists We Trust

RHR International's Paul C. Winum, Senior Partner, Practice Leader Co-Head, Board & CEO Services, was quoted in the Corporate Board Member magazine article, "In Generalists We Trust." Paul explains the benefits of boards hiring a generalist due to their ability to see the multidimensionality of the business.

"Specialists brought on to the board for one specific purpose typically can't contribute much on the other areas of risk that the board is tasked with overseeing, and their presence can also inhibit dialogue on critical topics, says Paul Winum, co-head of board & CEO services for RHR International. “When something comes up in the boardroom that relates to that particular topic area, everyone kind of defers to the resident expert on the board, as opposed to a whole group process of everyone being engaged on topics that are important to the governance of the organization.”"

What Value Can a Board Actually Deliver?

I was at a dinner party the other evening. Two of the guests were CEOs of very well-known and highly regarded organizations who have served on multiple boards. At one point, the conversation of the evening turned to the topic of corporate governance, and one of the CEOs posed the question, “can a board actually deliver value?” The question was based on the assumption that the business of most large, global companies is extremely complex and difficult for a part-time board member to understand in sufficient enough depth to provide useful guidance and counsel.

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