Your business has probably shifted most of its technology use to the cloud so as to save money and be more efficient.
The question is no longer why you should move to the cloud, but how you can make the best use of corporate legal software for document management and other tasks. Over the years you may have installed a series of solutions, leaving your staff with various logins for different tasks, which makes big picture reporting difficult.
WHAT IS SOFTWARE-AS-A-SERVICE (SAAS)?
SaaS is software that resides neither on your computer nor on a physical on-premise server, but in the cloud. Most software that businesses use today falls into this category. G Suite and Microsoft Office 365 are examples of SaaS solutions.
With very few exceptions, the old model of purchasing one piece of software for one computer is dead. With SaaS, you only pay for the number of users and any custom programming your company may need for the initial setup. In addition, SaaS solutions can be accessed from anywhere in the world your employees can log on to the Internet.
It is now widely accepted that using cloud technology keeps businesses agile and disaster-proof. In many cases, it is also more affordable than legacy software and hardware solutions. IBM lists flexibility, agility, and strategic value as the three main benefits of cloud computing.
UNTANGLING YOUR PATCHWORK QUILT OF SAAS SOLUTIONS
People who work in corporate legal departments resent being labeled as Luddites. Nobody is more interested in working more efficiently than a lawyer who has cases and contracts clogging up their inbox. The problem with legal department technology use is not its rate of cloud adoption, but the fact that It Is comprised of many different solutions.
One app may keep track of hours and another may be used for document management. Most cloud technology solutions that corporate legal departments are using are designed for law firms, which means vital features may be missing. On the other hand, these solutions come with features you will never use, such as the ones that pertain to billing and/or marketing.
Your current software may not meet Canadian or international data privacy regulations, such as PIPEDA and the GDPR. Your legal department is better off with one SaaS solution designed specifically for the corporate legal world.
Cloud Security: A Necessity for any SaaS Solution
Another problem with having different solutions for different tasks is that security could easily be lacking with one or more of those solutions. Since most files that a legal department handles are sensitive in nature, every solution should be locked down as securely as possible. File access control should also be in place so that only relevant users can log in to projects or files. Establishing cybersecurity measures is a proactive measure to keep your business from violating data privacy regulations; preventing a security breach, rather than reacting to it after the fact, is always advisable.
Here are some of the security items you should look for in a SaaS solution for your legal department:
Simply signing in with a password and username is not enough to make logins safe. Two-factor authentication prevents security breaches by requiring an additional piece of information to log in to an account. It can be a code sent by text, a physical USB key that will only allow a login if it is plugged into the device you are using, etc. This reduces the possibility of breaches as an attacker would have to have not only your password and username but the second part of the authentication as well.
The solution itself should be hosted on servers that are certified to the ISO 27001 international standard. The standard guarantees a set guideline is followed for data safety and various control measures. It should also undergo internal security testing as well as occasional intrusion testing. While most SaaS solutions have various security measures in place, most are hosted with Amazon Web Services (AWS), rather than being privately hosted; this makes them much harder to find and adds an additional level of security, as the company has complete access control.
For a corporate legal department, cybersecurity is almost as important as functionality. In the initial days of internet use, the argument for not moving paper files to digital was that it was less secure. Back then, that may have actually been the case. Today, there are so many security measures that digital storage is definitely more secure – and disaster-proof – than paper files.
As the world confronts yet another dilemma — the COVID-19 pandemic — on top of numerous pressing social justice predicaments, boards are increasingly becoming open and receptive to ESG management. ESG management aims to increase attention and awareness of environmental, social, and governance affairs.
What is Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG)?
Environmental, Social, and Governance, or simply ESG, promotes a more stakeholder-centric business approach. The incorporation of ESG into the existing practice in doing business also allows directors to consider the global nuances that drive focus across different regions.
By adhering to ESG standards, companies ethically commit themselves to put forth the three areas that ESG stands for — Environmental, Social, and Governance — in their business processes.
Specifically, companies integrating ESG management address multiple issues that fit into the environmental, social, and governance blanket categories. Such issues include:
The Environmental facet addresses key issues focused on the preservation of the natural world, such as:
- Climate change
- Carbon emission reduction
- Water pollution and water scarcity
- Air pollution
The Social element addresses key issues focused on the consideration of humans and our interdependencies, such as:
- Customer success
- Data hygiene and security
- Gender and diversity inclusion
- Community relations
- Mental health
Focused on the logistics, as well as on defined processes for running a business or organization, Governance addresses vital issues, such as:
- Board of directors and its makeup
- Executive compensation guidelines
- Political contributions and lobbying
- Venture partner compensation
- Hiring and onboarding best practices
Relationship Between ESG and the Board of Directors
A clear-cut definition of the relationship between ESG and the board of directors has yet to be defined.
The Nominating and Governance Committee, with the full board’s involvement, often spearheads talks encompassing the “G,” or governance aspect of ESG. Particularly, G’s incorporation can affect the Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) programs, leading to the company wanting to discuss their overall long-term strategy.
More boards are actively incorporating “S,” or the social element of ESG, with issues such as health care cost, resource scarcity, human rights, and income inequality being considered in the context of a company’s strategy development processes.
The best structural practices in which “E,” or the environmental facet of ESG, is incorporated, are still relatively unknown. In a study comprised of 447 survey respondents, 50% reported some form of board-level oversight by either a full board or a specialized board committee and 19% said that the oversights were due to issues within the organization. 35% of the respondents also reported that their companies do not address environmental issues or do not know of existing overseeing structures.
6 Components of a Successful ESG Management Plan
ESG management provides a multitude of opportunities that boards of directors should consider, rather than dismiss. Here are six main elements of ESG Management that councils should consider incorporating into their business processes.
Material ESG Issues
Material ESG issues encompass issues critical to long-term value creation. By incorporating this element into business operations, boards can better grasp how material ESG issues affect the business and its stakeholders, thus helping them see beyond the balance sheet in order to create a more comprehensive report of problems. This incorporation leads to more informed decisions on business investments, gains, and profits thanks to the insight it provides into what is ahead of the company.
When ESG management efforts align with the overall business strategy, a company can reap the most significant benefits for its actions. In addition, employing this second element allows committees to work together and establish a clear and transparent network of communication that further strengthens and maintains this alignment.
Besides guaranteeing that a company complies with relevant governing laws and regulations, board oversight committees must also incorporate ESG consideration in capital allocation and budgeting. Companies must also be sure to understand a target company’s ESG stance first before signing mergers and acquisitions.
Employing effective board strategies is paramount in ensuring a company’s compliance with relevant laws and regulations. Overseeing ESG management efforts also clarifies the purpose of its presence, helping boards reflect and uphold these values in the overall organizational strategy. Additionally, panels can also ascertain that their company satisfies stakeholder expectations for ESG practices.
In today’s business landscape, it is not enough to demonstrate a loyal adherence to the law. Brands should be at the front lines of facilitating social change. Thus, it is crucial that companies fully understand the intrinsic opportunities and risks that are nestled within ESG matters. Demonstrating such understanding is pivotal in creating an impact and increasing value but also in decreasing, if not eliminating, the chances of dismantling it.
Policies and Initiatives
ESG policies and initiatives that boards may want to consider implementing are putting climate change forward in mapping out strategies, fostering gender and racial diversity within the board and the company, and encouraging everyone to speak out –with dissention being welcome –, when discussing company strategies.
However forward and progressive, boards must be firm and clear in defining such policies and initiatives to get the best outcomes.
Metrics and Goals
Boards are at the forefront in setting the appropriate metrics and goals against which employees will evaluate efforts and progress toward specific objectives. After establishing the metrics that are to be employed, boards must then lay out a set of guidelines that include regular reviews to track whether the performance goals are a true reflection of the company’s purpose and strategy.
Boards must also recognize the impact of ESG information; they must craft disclosure procedures encompassing what, where, and how often a business should publish data.
The work does not stop at creating policies and initiatives and implementing guidelines for collecting, reviewing, and disclosing ESG information. Boards must also continuously monitor and evaluate the effect and influence of their ESG strategy. Boards must look beyond objective balance sheets and into the environmental and social impact of their company’s ESG driven actions.
All companies want to grow and lead the market of their respective industries; they differ in the way they reach this goal. Boards that incorporate and embed ESG management into their business doings are most likely to not only draw ahead of the competition but, more importantly, to take on a substantial role that not everyone has the guts to — that of becoming a change leader.
There will be a time when an integral member of an organization decides to step down. Various reasons behind the decision can involve retirement, health reasons, or other unforeseen circumstances. Whatever the reason might be, one thing is for sure: the departure of a board member leaves a huge impact.
When a board member, executive, or CEO resigns, the organization can expect several changes. From establishing new rules, having different expectations to many adjustments as the remaining members endure the significant loss. A comprehensive board of directors must carry out succession planning to prepare organizations for such massive changes. Not only can succession planning keep the company afloat, but it also maintains the performance of the entire team.
Succession Planning: Why is it Vital?
Succession planning is among the best practices observed by board members and executives to ensure that organizations overcome any transition they may face. The sophisticated planning of board succession promotes resilience and ensures continued success.
Here are the key benefits to establishing a solid director’s succession planning:
Maintaining Quality Leadership
The members of the board of directors serve as the backbone of the organization. Board of Director members are the main reasons behind the success and profitability of the business. Thus, an organization gets crippled without them. Therefore, it is integral that organizations maintain the high performance of board members by expediting the recruitment of their successors shortly after a member steps down.
Not only does succession planning fill in board members that resigned, but it also maintains productivity within the organization. A clear sign that the executives need a new demographic is when board meetings become stagnant and bleak. Managing the board succession aims to yield growth inviting new members who bring a breath of fresh air. This new perspective can provide the team with fresh ideas that add value to the organization.
The foundation of the organization can get tested when it faces a severe threat or sudden change. When unprecedented circumstances such as a current CEO, executive director, or a board member stepping down or passing away arrive, companies need a succession plan to recover. These positions offer big shoes to fill, which businesses cannot accomplish on such short notice. For this reason, it is fundamental that organizations have a board succession plan prepared in case a sudden change of leadership is needed. This board reduces as much impact to the business as possible by preparing the firm with the adjustments they need to endure.
Best Practices for Board of Directors Succession Planning
Organizations need to observe the following practices to ensure that board succession is prepared for when a member steps down:
Maintaining a Diverse Board
One best practice of board succession planning is maintaining the diversity of its members. Organizations must carry out appointments of their members periodically to sustain quality performance and leadership. Having new board members opens doors for diverse perspectives while replacing incumbent directors who may no longer align with the company’s strategic direction and continuing plans. Additionally, this helps organizations stay afloat despite board members stepping down for their retirement. Diverse boards are less likely to fall prey to “group think” and are more likely to adopt innovative ways of thinking to address potential challenges and embrace new opportunities.
Involvement of Shareholders
It is fundamental for organizations to have their shareholders involved with the significant changes within the company. When provided with transparency, shareholders become aware of the board representatives behind the invested organization. Making board succession planning more inclusive would also promote consultations from key shareholders. Consultations of this nature are much more critical for businesses with “vocal” shareholders on their books. In this context, detailed, timely preparation and execution of shareholder consultations may help avoid animosity. Looping them in on the board selection process can also prevent substantial financial waste, likely at the shareholders’ cost.
Fair Selection Process
A significant portion of board member succession planning should go into maintaining fairness during the selection process. Executives must set a clear policy detailing the standards that can help them with their search. On top of that, it ensures consistency and rigor in choosing a member that has big shoes to fill.
The board members must create a profile of the candidate they are looking for, which involves skills, competencies, and other qualifications needed. More often than not, organizations look for individuals that are different from the board’s current composition. It helps them welcome new perspectives and addresses previous shortcomings. In addition, matching their candidate with their current and future needs can help them draft a concise job description for their vacancy.
Furthermore, many boards will hire independent, reputable recruitment consultants to find possible nominees after determining their needs and identifying the type of talent they require. While consultants may be beneficial to the process, they should not solely be in control. Although these consultants serve as the initial screeners that go through a vast pool of candidates, the board should take control of the process and ensure that interviews and other means thoroughly vet the shortlisted applicants.
Understanding their Long-term Goals
Before getting a new member involved within the organization, it is best to ensure that their plans align with the other mission of the organization. Unfortunately, there are circumstances when companies have a plethora of opportunities in-store for employees only to find out that the employee does not plan to be with the company for the long term. Therefore, it is integral to talk with the potential candidate for succession development regarding their career plans in the next five to ten years. If their objectives and goals do not involve working within the organization, it is best to turn them down early.
Keep in mind that succession planning entails more than just choosing a successor. It necessitates that businesses consider their long-term objectives, the people who can comply with that vision, and the significant training and expertise that successors need to accomplish those objectives.
Among the top governance themes in 2021 are climate risk, the diversification of board members, and digital transformation. 2020 was both a challenging and transformative year for businesses.
The resilience and agility of business leaders and board members have been put to the test. This year, organizations are facing a variety of complex and urgent issues, all while trying to recover from the pandemic.
Download our latest E-Book to learn the top 4 governance issues concerning boards.
When you own a company, your board members are an essential asset.
Picture this: Your dream team is finally in place – every single staff member has been carefully selected, your mission has been set, and focus is now on your vision – every single box has been ticked. Theoretically, your business is ready to soar, but there is one area in which you are stuck: Your board members.
The board represents the interest of all shareholders and stakeholders in the company. But what if they aren’t productive?
In this article, we’ll suggest 8 potent ways to make your board members more engaged, productive, and innovative.
Maintain Seamless Communication
The easiest way to keep your board members engaged is to send regular, to-the-point emails, keeping them updated on what’s happening in the company. Remember that more informed your board members are, the more effective they will be for the business.
By keeping them in the loop, you increase the likelihood of your board not only responding but trying to be helpful when problems arise. Moreover, they are better prepared for board meetings. Finally, as everyone is updated with important company matters, they can reach decisions faster.
That said, be sure not to overwhelm them with too much information at once. Instead, be purposeful with what you want them to know and how the company can use their support. Information leads to motivation, and when board members feel involved, they feel motivated.
Identify Why They Joined Your Board
All members have joined your board for a purpose. Identify this purpose and concentrate your efforts on underscoring it for them. Also, be clear when defining their responsibilities.
Most board members have a particular interest in the business. Over time, this interest can diminish, but it is still there, just waiting to be tapped into. Sit down and talk with your board members individually and ask them precisely why they want to be on the board.
Here are a few questions you may want to ask:
- How do our company’s vision and work inspire you?
- What abilities and experience do you bring as a board member?
- What objectives do you want to see our company achieve?
If a board member has been inactive, ask them precisely what would make them more engaged, then do your best to accommodate. When you focus on why board members got involved in the first place, they’ll feel more connected to the company as a whole.
Focus on their Passions & Skills
Board members want to be engaged in helping your business flourish; involve them in projects and activities that not only use their expertise but ignites their passions.
Focusing on what they are passionate about and why they joined your board can help you learn about what gets them motivated. This will pay large dividends in the long run. Make sure every board member finds purpose and adds value each year they’re on the board.
Set Goals for Every Board Member
Consider setting goals based on what each board member envisions for themselves and for the company. Then, encourage them by establishing goals relevant to their strengths and abilities.
It’s best to set goals for the month, the year, and for long-term, which align with your organization. Ensure that the goals are specific, measurable, and accessible, so board members don’t feel confused or left out.
Get creative about how to tap into their various strengths and interests. Identify what encourages your board members and let their uniqueness drive your work toward renewed ingenuity and strategy.
Keep Board Meetings Productive
When it comes to board meetings, be as organized as possible. Boring meetings can end up draining the interest of board members. You can easily avoid this situation by keeping meetings short and ensuring that you always start and end on time.
Allow a short break during the meeting to keep the energy up and refresh attention spans. Have a written agenda with a timeline, and then stick to it.
Rather than focusing on financial aspects only, make sure your board meetings are dedicated to solving strategic issues. Set clear expectations before a board meeting and understand what problems your members have on their minds beforehand.
Instead of diving deep into matters that can be addressed separately, talk about issues of common interest. Make sure every board member actively participates in these meetings by allowing them to voice their concerns and put forward their views.
Nurture Relationships Among Them
Concentrate on personalizing the relationship between you, your board members, and the company. Dedicate time every month to foster a relationship with your board members in more than just work-related areas.
Celebrate personal and professional endeavors, conduct annual retreats, acknowledge special days, arrange out-of-work gatherings, and engage board members individually. One great idea is to have a board breakfast, lunch, or dinner once or twice a year to build social relationships.
Board members will feel more involved when relations are built across business lines and outside professional areas.
Encourage In-Person Board Meetings
Sometimes a board member can’t attend a meeting in person, and that’s okay. But you should encourage all board members to be physically present at every meeting.
If they are traveling or are unable to attend in person, the next best option is to have them on a video call where you can see them virtually.
Avoid having just voice calls as it is challenging to get completely in sync with the conversation, and your board members may get diverted by other activities. In addition, unlike video calls, voice calls aren’t that productive, and it’s not possible to build trustworthy relationships over the phone.
Show the Difference They Make
The board provides strategic direction to the company. Provide them with an annual review of achievements to show them how their decisions are helping the business progress toward its strategic mission and vision.
Link the success of the members to the actions the board approved. Make them proud of what they do and what they represent. They will remain engaged and become your true ambassadors.
It can be easy to let your board go off track and become stagnant. However, when appropriately used, a board can be a valuable resource, bringing better exposure to your business, making informed decisions, and breeding effective leadership.
Using these 8 tips, you can keep your board members engaged and productive, and when they thrive, your company thrives.
No matter what your position is, whether rank-and-file or CEO, the importance of having control over your workload is very important.
When confronted with a mountain of work, many people prefer to bury themselves in it and neglect their wellbeing to the point of exhaustion, and even burnout.
Although it is important to get ahead of your more significant projects, you must not forget your regular tasks. Here are ways you can efficiently face heavy workloads head-on.
Prioritize Important Workload Tasks Over Urgent Ones
Begin with the most critical and unappealing activities, as the most difficult and time-consuming tasks should be tackled first. It is recommended to set aside an hour or two in the morning to work on these because they are the tasks that will produce results. Instead of responding to emails or making phone calls, get some solid work done first. After that, focus on the most pressing issues.
Set Up Limits, Respect Them, and Ask for Help
Get in the habit of saying no. Setting unreasonable goals when you are already drowning in work isn’t fair to anybody, least of all yourself. Since no one has an infinite capacity to work, they should avoid taking on a workload that requires more than they can actually give.
When something seems too big to manage, do not be afraid to seek assistance.
Manage Stress Levels Immediately
Do not give in to the constant need to work. This level of continuous stress can only lead to negative consequences like boredom, anxiety and burnout. It is important to remember to improve your creative thinking and to engage in activities that relieve stress. Grab a cup of coffee, go for a walk outside, do anything relaxing. Happiness and low stress levels are essential components of a productive and efficient workplace.
Do Not Bite Off More Than You Can Chew
It is important to break down the workload into manageable chunks. These chunks may mean concentrating on a single task, one day at a time or on a series of tasks, over the course of a week. Divide each workload, one project at a time, and determine the steps that will allow you to manage the work at hand.
Set Achievable Deadlines
Employers can find it easier to add to a mountain of work rather than take the time to reduce what is already piling up. If a team feels overburdened, their manager can look at the big picture and see what can be removed from the to-do list. They must consider the team’s duties and the group’s common objectives and prioritize tasks by setting realistic deadlines.
Assess Yourself and Be Self-Aware
Self-awareness is essential for any manager or entrepreneur in order to know if they are making the workload more challenging than necessary. You must ask yourself: Are you micromanaging or just being indecisive? Are you failing to follow up on problems? Or are your actions creating an environment that encourages and fosters structured efficiency?
While this can be one of the most introspective and difficult ways to tackle a heavy workload, it can be a game-changer.
If you identify the issue or issues holding you back, you can affect lasting change and, consequently, better productivity.
Throw Multitasking in the Trash Can
Contrary to common opinion, multitasking can be counterproductive, as it reduces productivity and decreases the quality of work produced. Multitasking can also put an employee’s quality of life under excessive stress, leading to burnout, resulting in dissatisfied customers and poor work results.
Thus, if you are the manager or CEO, divide duties evenly and ask each staff member for one thing at a time. On the other hand, if you are an employee or an entrepreneur, it might be wise to focus on one job at a time, waiting for each one to be completed before taking another one on.
When tackling a heavy workload, you must always be rational, flexible, and have an open, clear line of communication. Bosses must be effective in delegating tasks in such a way that people aren’t taking on more that they can handle.
Electronic planning can be used to control workloads or scale income, as well as for development and the general pursuit of positive results, no matter the role in question.
Whether you are the boss, an employee, or self-emplyed, there are workload management tools at your disposal that can facilitate the process.
Effective Tools for Workload Management
Workload Management Systems is designed to assign tasks to everyone in such a way that they can accomplish based on their skills, ability, and availability, within a reasonable time frame.
Project managers used to rely on dynamic spreadsheets to handle team workloads in the not-too-distant past. Dynamic spreadsheets worked well because everybody worked in the same office, and updating the sheet was a relatively simple matter of asking everyone for updates through email communication. Then came remote teams, and browser-based workload management software became more appealing.
Since the world relied on Excel for almost all project planning and monitoring needs, digital resource management systems have come a long way. In recent years, software brands have been designed and used by in-house and remote teams worldwide, allowing for improved coordination, collaboration, and workload distribution and delegation than ever before.
Using a Board Portal
One of the most effective tools for managing the heavy workload of an executive is a board portal. A board portal digitizes the management of board meetings by maintaining all documents, agendas, and meeting minutes in one central location. These documents can also be accessed by any device and at any time.
With a board portal, the entire board meeting process is simplified for every member. All necessary documents can be quickly prepared and distributed through the board portal in a secure transfer of information. After the meeting, the board portal makes it simple to conduct any necessary follow-ups, such as the distribution of meeting minutes.
The value of getting leverage over your workload cannot be overstated, regardless of your status, whether it is rank-and-file or CEO. Instead of burying yourself in mountains of work, there are ways by which you can tackle a heavy workload efficiently.
Good corporate governance matters now more than ever, with stakeholders such as investors, employees, and the public demanding transparency and accountability from corporations. The actions of the board have never been under a more focused lens than they are today.
In the era of social media and fastidiously conducted research, questionable actions and decisions are sure to be discovered and acted on by stakeholders.
Corporate governance, when done according to current best practices is risk management in that it vastly reduces the possibility of board gaffes and poor decision-making.
Download our latest white paper to discover the best practices for corporate governance.
The Board of Directors is responsible for managing every aspect of the company per its charter document. For that reason, the board must ask thoughtful and practical questions to better assess if its business strategy aligns with the company’s end goals or legally specified purpose.
The board’s job is to think of the bigger picture and respond according to it.
Therefore, keeping the organization’s overall vision close in mind is of utmost importance for each board member.
One must remember that questions are not criticisms or attacks. They aren’t meant to be disrespectful or disparaging. Any question the board members ask is fostering an opportunity to delve into something more deeply and make sure the board is best informed to make the subsequent decisions. Ideally, any question members of the board will ask encourage more clarity about the issue at hand and provoke thoughtful conversations. The board will make the best decisions when it truly understands every aspect of an issue, especially if it happens to be dynamic or complicated. The board will need to address and consider every facet and impact of an issue before deciding together.
For example, let’s say that the CEO is recommending an increase in rates or prices. Here are some thoughtful questions to consider asking to get down to the bottom of why now might be the time to raise rates/prices.
- What do we hope to use the extra capital for?
- Has demand grown enough to warrant this type of increase?
- Do we have loans we need to repay that this extra income generation will help?
- How will this affect our net income?
- Is it necessary that we raise this now?
- Are we behind in the market?
- Will this help us attract more savings, and how might we use that going forward?
- What will this increase help improve?
- Is it necessary that we do this now instead of later?
If your CEO is recommending a decrease in rates or prices or cancelling/ending something such as a product line, these are some other questions that would be helpful to consider:
- Did a risk not pay off?
- Do we have the money/liquidity to be able to handle this decrease?
- How will this affect our net income?
- Is it necessary?
- Did we underestimate a risk?
When evaluating a budget, income statement, balance sheet, or expenses over a quarter, here are some other thoughtful questions to ask:
- Has accounting resolved all line items?
- Is anything still outstanding?
- What was the outcome of the risk? Did it pay off or not, and why?
- How are we funding our loans or long-term investments?
- Are we within policy?
- Does more evaluation need to take place before we consider establishing/doing ____?
- Why is there a negative balance or a negative line item?
- Are we going in the right direction? Why or why not?
- What is losing or gaining market value?
- Do we need to reassess our risk factors?
- What should we know about the market to better understand these deviations?
The board is responsible for managing the investments, so it is crucial to make sure investments are within policy and are being managed appropriately. Here are some questions to ask around those:
- What investments are losing or gaining market value?
- Should we reconsider our risk factors?
- Do we want to be more aggressive or conservative?
- What should we know about the current market and market forecasts?
Most importantly, the board needs to be future-focused. Any questions should be couched in that mindset of, “Is this the best way to help our organization move toward our vision of prosperity?” Also, do ask general questions as necessary:
- Do we have more research on this topic? Possibly reports or news articles that would better help us make this decision?
- What are our most recent financial statements about this metric?
- How do you think that discussion of ____ went? Is there something we need to discuss further?
While a board, especially the ones with new members, may still be figuring out its stride, the most critical part of any board meeting is having thoughtful and healthy conversations about every aspect of the organization.
An organization is best served by its board’s ability to ask questions thoughtfully and to listen, consider, research, present, and reach a consensus about its future growth.
As your company and board consider adding new members or replacing current ones, now is the time to reflect upon the power of mentorship within the board of directors.
A mentorship program, whether it be created within your board of directors or is one that you pair with outside your organization can make the orientation process easier for new members and accelerate their understanding.
Download our latest white paper to discover how mentorship programs can be crucial to your board’s future.
The board of directors must understand what innovations its company should adopt and what it will mean for the company.
To assess this, several questions may be asked.
These can include:
- Is the board ready to implement sweeping and significant changes?
- How will this digital transformation impact the company culture, the employees, and its customers?
- What benefits will the company get from these changes?
- Will new employees need to be hired to make these changes?
You will also need to assess if your company is ready.
- Is your company prepared for new technology?
- Do your employees have the skill sets necessary to move forward?
- Are your executives and managers confident in their employees and the success of the new technologies you are considering?
- Will everyone be able to work together to facilitate the new changes?
The board of directors plays a crucial role in implementing any digital changes.
- It will want to thoughtfully consider what innovative technologies to adopt and the proper strategies necessary to accomplish an effective company-wide roll-out.
- It will also want to assess how forward-thinking they want to be: would they rather tread lightly, adopting new methods carefully and slowly, or be boldly progressive and transform all at once?
- The board will also need to ensure that all digital transformation aligns with the company’s business strategy and corporate governance.
It will take a strong board of directors to lead the charge for your company’s digital transformation, and it must come from the top. Resilience will be important as any change will come with its growing pains.
Here are specific ways your board can prepare itself to make these changes:
Keep in touch.
As new initiatives arise, your board of directors cannot lead that charge if they don’t understand it themselves. Keep in touch with ongoing trends and ensure that your executives are too.
Discuss with executives and managers.
There may be gaps in your company’s talent or knowledge. Necessary training may need to be provided to bring current employees up to speed, or new employees with specific skill sets may need to be hired. Ensure that hiring managers are aware of what skills will be needed going forward and explore ways those gaps can be eliminated.
Explore what is available.
It can be difficult incorporating new technologies into your daily life, but you have to get comfortable if you want your company to follow. Your experience with these technologies can also be valuable as you may get some insight into the human side of implementing.
Open up communication between technology leaders and the board of directors.
The technology leaders of your company should regularly present to the board. These are the people you are trusting to stay informed on the latest innovations, and this open line of communication should be their opportunity to present their findings and recommendations.
Explore outside resources.
Your board of directors can learn about new technology initiatives through blogs, podcasts, newsletters, and online courses. Your board may also want to consider attending a conference for directors and executives that addresses digital transformation.
Reconsider your working environment.
If your company generally works in small groups, divisions, or isolation, it might be time to reconsider your working environment. Assessing your company’s technology needs will require collaboration. You may want to consider having more communication between groups, divisions, or employees and/or having individuals connect more with one another.
As your board moves forward with a major change, communicate with stakeholders, employees, and customers. They will be most affected by any digital transformation, so they must be prepared and consulted. Your board also may want to consider using technology–Zoom, social media, or some other way–to have these conversations.
Stay in touch.
New technologies quickly come and go. Your board needs to be aware of ongoing trends, and it needs to stay in touch with ongoing trends. Your board must commit to staying on top of the newest changes together.
As your board considers and responds to your company’s technological needs, it may prove difficult.
No change is easy, especially when it may require a total transformation of your company’s way it usually does things.
With that in mind, resilience is the key. Understand that there will be difficulties along the way, but your company will come out stronger and remain competitive in this day’s digital age.