“Crystal-balling the future is a characteristic we have not managed to develop”
Organizations have always been faced with challenges. Accurate coordination of all elements has always been necessary. Making sure ‘not to drop the ball’ has always been forefront on every good leaders and managers mind. This year is no different. This year, it is still crucial to have precise oversight, skilled leadership and diligent management.
What is different about this year is a pronounced sense of unease. The feelingof disquiet is palpable. An invisible layer of uneasiness seems to permeate our very atmosphere. An intangible edginess stealthily seeping into our core.
Much of the unease oozing into us is caused by not knowing. We feel uneasy because we feel that we don’t know everything. We feel that we cannot control everything. We feel we do not have the full overview. As the adage goes, we don’t know what we don’t know.
Crystal-balling the future is a characteristic we have not managed to develop. Now, it seems as though even the present seems enigmatic. Bewilderingly, even the recent past is shrouded in mystery. What are the factors contributing to this feeling of mystery?
“Corporate Governance is the overarching structure in place to direct and manage a company.”
Some of the current topics contributing to leading and managing large organizations are: Operational Resilience, Environmental Social Governance (ESG), Cyber Security, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Diversity and Inclusion, Global Supply Chain Developments, Risk Management, Financial Considerations and Human Resource Management.
“The meaning of effective governance for an organization is to manage the day-to-day operations, in line with the vision, strategy and planning, with integrity and in the best interests of all stakeholders.”
Corporate Governance is the overarching structure in place to direct and manage a company. The meaning of effective governance for an organization is to manage the day-to-day operations, in line with the vision, strategy and planning, with integrity and in the best interests of all stakeholders.
What if governing an organization could seem less daunting? What if leaders could feel grounded and secure in the knowledge that they do have available? What if our unease about not knowing could be satiated by having appropriate risk management strategies in place?
Wisdom Tool Number One: Know Your Accountabilities
Typically in a large organisation, there are three parts to its structure: The Board of Directors, the Corporate Officers and the Shareholders.
The Board of Directors consists of the Chairman, Executive Directors and Non-Executive Directors. The Corporate Officers include the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), the Chief Operating Officer (COO), the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and sometimes a Chief Evangelist. The shareholders are those who own the company, through holding shares.
The Board of Directors are ultimately responsible for governing the organization.
A well-governed organisation operates in the best long-term interests of the company. Factors which support this are appropriate board composition, transparent and honest financial reporting, fair remuneration of senior executives, stakeholder relations and communication, risk management and ethical behavior.
The CEO plays a primary role in ensuring organizations operate within effective governance practices. The CEO is often best placed to oversee the running of the organization due to the widespread nature and holistic overview of the function.
The effectiveness and integrity of Boards is increasingly coming under the spotlight. Considerations such as appropriate size and composition of the Board, succession planning as well as adequate communication and information flow with the CEO. The illuminating spotlight serves to increase personal director liability and accountability to stakeholders.
“What is the dynamic between the Board and the Management?”
Wisdom Tool Number One: Know Your Accountabilities. What are the accountabilities of your Board of Directors? What are the accountabilities of the CEO? How is the succession plan developed, communicated and implemented? How clear is the division of roles and responsibilities? What is the dynamic between the Board and the Management? Too much micro-managing? Not enough appropriate communication? Does the CEO feel satisfactorily supported while experiencing autonomy?
Wisdom Tool Number Two: Know The Minimum Requirements
Government and industry regulations and guidance outline minimum requirements for good governance. Some of it is prescriptive. Some of it can be interpreted and adjusted in line with the needs and size of the particular organization.
“Simplifying the minimum requirements needs to be a minimum requirement!”
Wisdom Tool Number Two: Know The Minimum Requirements. Minimum requirements can seem daunting. Is there one person in the organization who knows what needs to be done and has full oversight? Are the minimum requirements clearly outlined for those who are responsible? Is there an appropriately sized team to handle the implementation, maintenance and reporting? A team that is not too big, and not too small. Are clear roles and responsibilities outlined and a succession plan in place with associated procedures should someone decide to leave or if the team is expanded?
Simplifying the minimum requirements needs to be a minimum requirement!
What is already in place? What is not in place? What is the surplus? What are the gaps? How can the processes and the systems be streamlined and a succinct team put in place to handle it?
Wisdom Tool Number Three: Know Your Stakeholders
A stakeholder is an entity who can influence something or be impacted by something. And that can happen either directly or indirectly. If we look at some of the possible stakeholders of a Board, we have the board members, the corporate officers, the employees, the consumers, the shareholders, investors and regulators. Business partners, suppliers, competitors and government bodies can influence the decisions of the enterprise or be impacted by actions taken.
At this point, can’t we safely say all organizations are impacted or influenced by global events? Taking a systemic view provides us with the opportunity to rise outside of our own bubble and observe the bigger picture. Taking a helicopter view opens our eyes to the global weaving. What we see are the advantages and challenges of a global supply chain. We realize our global movements are clear for all to see and we are taken aback with the potential fragility of the organizations reputation.
“Are you familiar with the intricacies of the global supply chain?”
Wisdom Tool Number Three: Know Your Stakeholders. How familiar are you with your landscape of stakeholders? Who and what are they? Where are they? How can you categorize them? How are your stakeholders aligned with the values of your organization? Are your stakeholders with you or against you?Are you familiar with the intricacies of the global supply chain? How can you simplify and create efficiencies within the supply chain? How can you begin to uncover risks and develop business continuity scenarios and plans to support a sustainable and robust organization?
Wisdom Tool Number Four: Know Your Direction of Travel
Getting clear on the vision, developing a strategy in line with that vision and associated aligned actions is crucial to the short, medium and long-term functioning and sustainability of the organization.
“Or is it … dissipating energy on scattered philosophies and activities?”
Wisdom Tool Number Four: Know Your Direction of Travel. What direction is your organization traveling? What journey is the organization on? What is the vision? What are values? Are the values in line with the vision? Is the organization unified in its purpose, vision, values, mission, strategy, actions? Or is it fragmented and dissipating energy on scattered philosophies and activities? How aligned are all parties? Are the Board, management, employees on the same page while being innovative and moving forward to the next chapter in collective unison?
How can you stand back and see things from a clear vantage point? Where is the resistance in the organization? How can you look the resistance in the face and do what, you know, absolutely needs to be done? How can you declutter and simplify and develop ways to protect, maintain and grow your organization? Protect, Maintain and Grow.
“Daunting it may be.”
Once you have a sustainable handle on the minimum requirements, how can you move on to ascertain what is the gap between fulfilling the minimum requirements and the vision? What are obstacles and opportunities between what is needed and what is envisioned? How can you coherently identify what needs to be done to composedly move the organization to one of prosperity? What is holding the organization from its vision? How can you get all the energy and resources turned the same way and moving in the same direction?
Daunting it may be. Make things less daunting by getting clear on and actualizing appropriate accountabilities. Face the minimum requirements head on and put a logical and sustainable system in place. Take a look at the global landscape and know the players. Be clear on the ultimate goal and get all systems and resources on board to realize it.
“Good self-governance leads to good organizational governance.”
To further explore how you can access your innate wisdom to get a handle on the vista of the current organization and how to move beyond that to a place of excelling, schedule a coaching conversation with Siobhán. Drop a note to firstname.lastname@example.org to set something up.
P.S. Here are three ways I can help you get to know you, and your organization, better.
- Schedule a 30-minute exploratory call with me: email@example.com
- If we believe we can collaborate, I will offer you a complimentary 90-minute deep-dive coaching session in support of what you want to achieve.
- What is the cost of not knowing your organization? Find out how well you know your organization. Take the Govern Wheel quiz!