What keeps a Board Member up at night? Plenty. And for good reason. So many of today’s headlines read something like, “CEO Departures Hit Record High.” Between January 1 and August 31 of this year, 1,009 Chief Executives have tendered their resignations. Fortune Magazine has called 2019 “the Year of the CEO Exodus.” Today’s CEO turnover is higher than it was during the 2008 recession and the average tenure is dropping.
Even more challenging, however, is the fact that businesses are facing a tsunami of trends that will mean a different reality for the future. We are seeing unprecedented changes in technology, automation, digital platforms, AI, consumer demands, and an entirely new generation coming into power and participation. Boards are struggling with the complexity of balancing long-term value, targeted growth, and capital allocation and risk appetite in this environment—all while trying to articulate a “blueprint for the future,” a.k.a a strategic plan.
Let’s think about the role of a Board and then look at the pinnacle of Board contribution—the creation of a vision for the entity along with a plan that charts a clear path forward.
In general terms, a Board is the decision-making and governing body of a corporation. They are expected to:
Boards come in all shapes and sizes, but the best ones have a core of commitment and competency that takes a business to new and lofty heights. The worst ones fall into the traps of mechanical and habitual behaviors; focus excessively on tactics and the short term; burden the CEO and staff with meeting preparation and presentation; and stay too long at the party, preventing fresh thinking from re-energizing the organization.
"BOARDS COME IN ALL SHAPES AND SIZES, BUT THE BEST ONES HAVE A CORE OF COMMITMENT AND COMPETENCY THAT TAKES A BUSINESS TO NEW AND LOFTY HEIGHTS."
JULIE KRIVANEK, President, Krivanek Consulting
When my clients are challenged, I am too. And if you are on a Board, here are some tips to help you get a good night’s sleep:
Having seen firsthand the brilliance that comes when Boards and executives create the future together, I remain very optimistic for what lies ahead as we get ready to close out this year of executive churn and economic curveballs. Here’s to launching a new decade in the produce industry and to successful strategies ahead.
Julie Krivanek is a Strategic Plan Advisor to Board of Directors and Executive Teams. In addition to serving on Boards, Julie is a member of the National Association of Corporate Directors and Women Corporate Directors.