Patricia Cullen Article-interview from: https://ceo-insight.com/business-schools/board-engagement/
CEO Insight speaks to Professor Andrew Kakabadse, Programme Director of the Board Directors’ Programme at Henley Business School, to explore the increasing importance of boards and board engagement, and how to improve the performance of top executive teams, leadership and corporate governance.
Patricia Cullen: Your international research identifies a range of factors that contribute to effective governance of organisations. I want to ask you specifically about two of these- ‘diversity of perspective’ and ‘shared vision and strategy’. How have each influenced your work and how much prominence is afforded to each as well as other factors within the Board Directors Programme?
Andrew Kakabadse: The first thing about governance and boards that emerged was we didn’t know what boards did. In fact, when we conducted the UK survey of boards, including approximately 1,200 companies, the FTSE 100 and 200, not one board was respected by their management. We concluded that a lot of board work that is concerned with compliance, processes, legalities and ticking boxes, was not only irrelevant, it was near to damaging. What boards need to do is offer far more stewardship, they need to facilitate,as well as control. It’s that critical balance between mentoring and monitoring, and it was interesting to see how few boards did that.
Diversity of thinking is critical; do we have peoplethat think sufficiently differently to handle the problems that the boards and management face. Shared vision is a very delicate issue. When we conducted the survey even in the States we found that over 80% of board directors did not know their firms’ competitive advantage. If they don’t know the competitive advantage of the firm, how can you trust the decisions board directors make? These two concepts emerged as so important. It indicated that the board had not given some thought to how they add value. Most board directors treated the board as a committee, ticking boxes etc., so there is work to be done.