Reducing conflict and ensuring better board decision-making at ICSA

Reducing conflict and ensuring better board decision-making at ICSA.

Risk management after the 2007 global financial crisis became much more of a focus, as the days of companies overstretching themselves and their resources could continue no longer. Pre or post crisis, the management of risk has always been a task the board must take seriously and do well. A good board needs to be able look into the future and identify risks that could have an effect on the business and put in place strategic plans to overcome or avoid them. Just as importantly, they need to be able to communicate effectively with one another about these risks and how they are going to be dealt with. The process of identifying and handling risk is a fundamental part of the strategy building process, but how do organisations ensure everything in between risk management and strategy building runs smoothly.

Earlier in July, we attended the ICSA Annual Conference, hosted at the ExCel London, to discuss with company secretaries from all sectors how they deal with everything in between risk management and strategy building, and vitally, how do they get board members collaborating in a space that is required to be constructive. Quite often, the boardroom can become a tense and competitive arena with board members vying for the dominant position, leaving some less strong-willed personalities unheard, when a variety of opinions is what is actually needed.

We had some great conversations at the stand about the reasons behind board members closing up shop and not contributing to the discussion. Throughout these conversations, we found one of the biggest reasons behind members not contributing was simply they didn’t know enough about the subject being discussed. After hearing this, we took the time to demonstrate how easy it actually is for directors to stay on top of the information needed to make the right decision, but also that there is no excuse for directors not to be fully informed.

We showed some of the tools available to ensure board members don’t continue to turn up to meetings unprepared, such as our governance tracking tools, which include attendance tracking and document tracking. The document tracking tool ensures any mandatory documents are monitored to see who has opened them, and for how long, it also tracks inactivity to ensure members don’t just leave it open while they attend to other matters. This proved to be an extremely popular function within our BoardPacks solution amongst people at the stand.

Its popularity at the stand can be attributed to the fact that company secretaries and administrative personnel can now keep track of which directors are fulfilling their roles, as well as pinpointing which members are not with a solid trail of evidence to support them when it comes to a board effectiveness review. This means that board members will turn up to meetings prepared and ready to debate the core agenda issues, including risk management, knowing they are able to make decisions about the business and its strategy with confidence and the right information.

Being prepared relieves a great deal of pressure in such a tense environment, and something we were keen to highlight at the conference, is that BoardPacks’ ability to provide key information at the right time helps to alleviate this pressure. Additional features, such as annotations and shared notes, help to facilitate collaboration by helping less vocal members add their comments before or during the meeting. Facilitating collaboration in the boardroom is key. Collaboration isn’t about being nice, it isn’t about collusion, it isn’t about consensus or deal-making; it is about discussing perspectives so you get better decisions.

Our BoardPacks solution has been developed to help improve the operations around decision-making, your business’ governance but it also helps manage all the personalities within the boardroom. The end result is a fully functioning, collaborative and dynamic boardroom that is alert and ready to tackle any issue, but also ready to capitalise on any opportunities.

There were some fantastic and thought-provoking panel sessions throughout the two days, however one in particular stood out, a session held by Alex Cameron & David Archer, Directors of Socia Ltd, who focused their time around improved collaboration in the boardroom. Alex used a slime mould metaphor, mentioning that it is a single cell organism, and when it lacks resources it joins with other slime mould cells to work together and find the resources. The metaphor was perfect for collaboration within the boardroom, if everyone does this well and moves together as one, they will thrive. This really resonated with us, as this is exactly what BoardPacks is for, a solution that enables an organisation to confidently pull in one direction.

The conference was a fantastic experience across the two days, and enabled us to catch up with some familiar faces as well as demonstrate to new attendees the latest features we have been working on.

If you would like more information on how BoardPacks can help with this, as well as improve collaboration within your boardroom and the decision-making around risk management, please do get in touch.

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