Directors attending the recent NACD Directorship 2020® event in Denver, Colorado engaged in group discussions about how boards can anticipate and effectively respond to environmental and competitive disruptors in the marketplace.
The half-day symposium at the Ritz-Carlton on July 15 was the second of three NACD Directorship 2020 events this year addressing seven disruptive forces and their implications for the boardroom. Summaries of the Denver speakers’ main points are available here.
Following each speaker, directors developed key takeaways for boards. Those takeaways fell within the parameters of the five elements of effective board leadership defined at last year’s NACD Directorship 2020 forums: strategic board leadership and processes, boardroom dynamics and culture, information and awareness, board composition, and goals and metrics.
Environmental Disruptor Takeaways
Strategic Board Leadership and Processes
Crisis response plan. Ensure that the company has a contingency plan in place that takes into account a potential environmental crisis. The plan should include how the company will respond to disruptions in the supply chain and production cycle, as well as to employees, customers, and investors.
Boardroom Dynamics and Culture
Culture. Boardroom culture should reflect that directors are ready and willing to be held accountable for environmental or climatological issues that arise for the company.
Information and Awareness
Engagement. The company should have an established communications plan to use in response to requests from shareholders and stakeholders regarding environmental matters.
Goals and Metrics
Green metrics. Becoming a sustainability-focused company requires adopting a long-term commitment to the cause. The board can communicate that commitment by establishing environment-related performance metrics that align with the corporate strategy.
Competitive Disruptor Takeaways
Strategic Board Leadership and Processes
Board agenda. Set aside time on the board agenda to discuss forward-looking strategy, so that the board’s focus is not limited to reviewing the company’s past performance.
Boardroom Dynamics and Culture
Culture. Fostering innovation requires risk. The culture throughout the organization should support failure and risk taking within the company’s tolerances. Also invite outside experts—or “white space” teams—to help trigger new, innovative thoughts.
Composition. Board composition should reflect a diversity of thought and experience. Regardless of background, directors should be willing to ask probing questions and stay aware of marketplace trends.
Goals and metrics
Understanding the marketplace. Management should be able to answer who future competitors might be and what trends might gain traction.
Read through this year’s most downloaded resources to see what directors found useful in 2012.
Governance Challenges—2012 and Beyond: Featuring the guidance and thought leadership from six of NACD’s strategic content partners, this publication offers a forward-looking perspective on the issues dominating boardroom discussion. Topics covered range from ten to-do’s for audit committees and the basics of compensation to board preparations for crisis situations.
Bridging Effectiveness Gaps: A Candid Look at Board Practices: To combat the risk of asymmetric information, NACD partnered with McGladrey to host four small gatherings—at NACD chapter locations across the nation—of executives and directors in an effort to find ways of improving the communication and relationships between the board and C-suite. From these candid conversations, this white paper was created.
2012 Risk Oversight Advisory Council Summary of Proceedings: The inaugural meeting of the NACD Advisory Council on Risk Oversight met telephonically during one of the worst hurricanes to hit the eastern seaboard in a century. During the abbreviated meeting, discussion focused on two areas: allocating the work of risk oversight and the new paradigm of reputational risk for corporations today.
2012 Nominating/Governance Committee Chair Advisory Council Summary of Proceedings: The third annual meeting of the NACD Nominating/Governance Committee Chair Advisory Council reinforced the sentiment that nominating and governance committees are navigating an increasingly challenging environment. The Council focused on how nominating and governance committees are revisiting their director evaluation and succession processes in the context of both new regulations and the rapidly changing global markets.
“You’ll have to get on your dancing shoes” said Donna as we watched the Dancing with the Stars finale the other night, and I must admit a shudder ran through me.
“What do you mean?” I asked, worried that she was going to suggest a Latin salsa class or sign me up for the square dance squad at church. My toes refuse to twinkle and I am to ballroom dance what hippos are to hip hop.
Hines Ward. He's no Ken Daly
“Well, I see the NACD conference site is open for business” said my wife “and you know how quickly your dance card fills up every October in DC.”
She’s right. Our conference has sold out for the last two years and we’re expecting more than 800 directors at the JW Marriott in Washington, DC from October 2-4 this fall. It’s great to see chapter leaders, members I first met at roundtables or education events, Board Leadership Fellows and our own NACD board, but it sure is hard to find time to take a turn around the floor with everyone—and to break in on all the interesting networking conversations going on left, right and center.
Conference is like a cotillion, and at all hours of the day and night board members from companies big and small, public and private, from all over America and, increasingly, all over the world, are in constant, swirling motion. You’ll definitely need your comfy shoes.
Like everyone else who makes certain to attend, I like to catch as many break outs as possible. There are 24 this year and it takes the speed and stamina of Maksim Chmerkovskiy to run between them. One definitely not to miss: Bonnie Hill from the board of Yum Brands, Jim Brady from the board of Constellation Energy, former Governor Bill Owens from Colorado at the time of Columbine, and communications guru Richard Levick talking about the board’s role in crisis planning and management in the year of the beef taco, Fukushima and political volatility all over the world.
We have a full day of programming on Sunday this year: plan to attend one of five board committee forums or get to know fellow directors by joining our special private tours of the Capitol or the National Archives.
Sir Peter Bonfield
As I write, Sir Peter Bonfield, who has contributed a lifetime to driving international technology innovation and who now sits on the board of Sony Corporation (among others) has agreed to join the opening plenary on Global Governance with Ambassador Roz Ridgway and our board member Michele Hooper (who Sir Peter knows from the board of AstraZeneca) . It’s a small world—although The Honorable Barbara Hackman Franklin and The Honorable Charlene Barshefsky may beg to differ. They’ll be sharing their view from 30,000 feet on one of the rare occasions when they are not in the air flying to China or other far flung hot spots.
Members of our latest Blue Ribbon Commission on Effective Lead Directors will take the stage as will The Honorable Leo Strine from the Delaware Court of Chancery. As usual, you won’t be able to turn around without bumping into a big name from the business world or someone from the Administration or the Hill. As always, thanks to our fantastic line-up of sponsors who make it possible for us to offer you an event of this size and scale.
I am looking forward to meeting Medco director Myrtle Potter who is based on the West Coast and catching up with Chris Kubasik, President and COO of Lockheed Martin and a board member at USO—an organization that I am sure is close to all our hearts. I know you will have your own “dance card” of movers and shakers in the world of governance. Just remember, you can’t be part of the fun if you don’t make it to the ballroom floor. Register now and I look forward to seeing you twirl by in the middle of all the excitement this October in Washington DC.