Urgent Boardroom Discussions are Rarely Particularly Productive

Most are sceptical of burdensome regulation and the “comply or explain” mechanism. They feel that investors prefer automatic compliance with governance orthodoxy rather than anything more imaginative or unusual. Hence, perhaps, the apparent misallocation of precious boardroom time. All decry box ticking and risk-averse decision making. Yet more and more time is spent debating backward-looking financial indicators. If board meetings are not working they should be changed. Perhaps a finance subcommittee could be charged with doing more of the minute work, reporting back to the full board with the essential detail. Above all, independent directors should be bringing scepticism, expertise and long-term vision to the table. This is the “important but not urgent” stuff that will help build better strategy. That is what the board really should be doing. “Keep your eyes on the stars and keep your feet on the ground,” as Teddy Roosevelt said.

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