artificial intelligence

How Artificial Intelligence Will Change the Boardroom

Boards have always been aware of the importance of emerging technologies and how they can affect industry. Whether it’s cryptocurrency, augmented reality, or cloud storage, directors are expected to understand what’s coming. Plus, they need to project how new technology might affect their company’s operations. They also need to consider the potential to utilize the technology for growth, and much more.

Artificial intelligence isn’t a brand new technology. However, its business-related impact is growing in leaps and bounds. For instance, AI is poised to have a significant influence on how big data is used not only in an internal auditing sense, but also as a decision-making tool for leaders.

Board members and their companies will be able to use AI to examine data and make substantial alterations to customer service. AI allows for constant tailoring and for creating an experience that is unique to each customer or client based on how their data is interpreted by AI systems.
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making meetings effective

Making Meetings Effective

Most organizations call meetings the cornerstone of business communication. Has the rise of email, meeting software, and apps like Slack stepped in to help unburden the meeting-inundated? Yes! But the meeting is still the basic activity that drives industry forward—particularly for boards of directors.

That being said, it’s clear that the meeting could use a little modernizing. Time has become the most valuable business commodity, which means that saving time, encouraging efficiency, and developing effectiveness are some of the smartest choices that leaders can make.

Here are our tips for making meetings more effective for everyone involved:

1. Determine whether the meeting really needs to happen.

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private boards vs public boards

Private Boards vs Public Boards: What’s the Difference?

Both private company board service and public company board service come with a great deal of responsibility. In each instance, directors will be expected to review data and reports, attend meetings, serve on committees, and much more. In most cases, the experiences of serving on these two types of boards will be similar. There are, however, a few key differences that distinguish them.

Private companies come in many different sizes. You could have a board for a private company that earns $2 million a year or one that earns $120.4 billion a year—like food and agricultural conglomerate, Cargill. Oftentimes, private companies begin as family-owned businesses, which can heavily influence the make up of the board and how it operates.

For instance, in a family-created business, the CEO could also be a major shareholder. In a situation like that, the board would operate more in an advisory role since firing the CEO would be nearly out of the question.
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esg standards

Why Board Members Need to Understand ESG Standards

On Tuesday morning, January 16, Laurence Fink—founder and CEO of the investment firm BlackRock—sent an important letter to the CEOs of the world’s largest companies. In that letter, he explained, “Society is demanding that companies, both public and private, serve a social purpose. To prosper over time, every company must not only deliver financial performance, but also show how it makes a positive contribution to society.”

BlackRock is the largest investor in the world—thereby giving Fink’s voice a great deal of power and influence. But what exactly do his statements mean?

Put simply, Fink’s letter advocates for Environmental, Social and Governance criteria, which is commonly referred to as ESG. Investopedia defines esg standards as “a set of standards for a company’s operations that socially conscious investors use to screen investments.”

The environmental element examines how a company is handling their impact on the natural environment.

The social portion of the criteria scrutinizes how the company handles its relationships—with employees, partners, customers, its local communities, and more.

The governance component analyzes exactly what you’d expect: executive leadership as well as pay, auditing processes, shareholders rights, etc.
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A Blockchain Explainer for Board Members

You’ve probably read or heard the word ‘Bitcoin’ more times than you can count over the past year. This ‘cryptocurrency’ is making waves and dominating the headlines because of its use of blockchain technology and its recent boom in value.

Businessman looking at the enormous network.

But what is a blockchain exactly? According to the authors of Blockchain Revolution, “The blockchain is an incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions but virtually everything of value.”

In other words, every time a ‘block’ or transaction is added to the ledger, it becomes a part of the permanent, universal database. Investopedia explains, “The blockchain was designed so these transactions are immutable, meaning they cannot be deleted. The blocks are added through cryptography, ensuring that they remain meddle-proof: The data can be distributed, but not copied.”

The technology was originally invented to handle accounting needs for Bitcoin, but it is already spawning new uses. Banks and major stock exchanges were some of the first entities to recognize the potential of blockchain technology, which is also sometimes referred to as distributed ledger technology (DLT). Nasdaq has been experimenting with DLT since 2015. A writer for the Nasdaq website explains that utilization of blockchain has “the potential to enable stock exchanges to significantly reduce the cost, complexity, and increase the speed of trading and settlement processes in a secure manner.”
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New Year’s Resolutions for the Boardroom

You might have already made a personal resolution for the new year, but have you thought about making resolutions for the boardroom this year? There’s no time like the start of a new calendar year for goal setting—in fact, it’s a practice that’s existed for more than 4,000 years!

New year 2017 change to 2018 concept, Hand flip wood cube

Not sure how your board can push for even better decision-making in the coming months? Don’t worry, we’ve got some suggestions:

  1. Consider forming an ethics committee.

The last year brought news of a considerable amount of corporate scandal and misbehavior. From Volkswagen to Wells Fargo, board members have been held under a microscope when things go wrong.

In response, several writers at Harvard Business Review insist that it’s time for boards to get serious about ethics and form a committee “with responsibility for the firm’s culture of integrity and for creating a robust program of controls and processes to promote ethical conduct and compliance.” The group would work closely with c-suite leaders to ensure that ethical strategies are employed at all levels of the company.
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Is Your Team Ready to Handle a Board Crisis?

Vector illustration of stick figure stopping the domino effect with falling white dominoes

According to corporate governance expert, Paula Loop, companies experience at least one board crisis every four or five years. That means every board should be prepared to step in and make important decisions in the event of an unforeseen issue.

Additionally, the public’s perception of corporate director responsibility has grown substantially. Whether it’s a public relations, technological, or financial crisis, shareholders and the public expect boards to not only be held accountable, but also to successfully navigate the company out of the crisis.

Is your board ready to fulfill that tall order? Here are some suggestions for being prepared.
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Why the Fortune 500 Loves Delaware

Corporate Governance

When you think of the business epicenter of America, what place springs to mind? New York City, San Francisco, or maybe Los Angeles?

Those would be good suggestions but oddly enough, a potentially bigger case could be made for the state of Delaware. As Alana Semuels writes for The Atlantic, “Two-thirds of Fortune 500 companies—including Coca-Cola, Apple, and American Airlines—are incorporated there…Their workforces, headquarters, and operations—truly the corporations themselves in anything but a legal sense—are elsewhere.”

So why are big business leaders rushing to file their paperwork in one of the nation’s tiniest states? The short answer is Delaware’s Court of Chancery. This style of court system, which developed in colonial times, is now largely non-existent in the rest of the United States. However, Delaware’s Court of Chancery has been continuously functioning since 1792. One of five judges presides over all cases that make it to the court, and verdicts are reached without the use of a jury.
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Recent Trends in CEO Succession

CEO succession data provides a unique glimpse into the evolving landscape of corporate leadership. By tracking trends, leaders can examine the effects of CEO succession timing, industry-specific risks, diversity initiatives, and competitor performance.

CEO succession

Each year, The Conference Board releases a report that “analyzes all CEO succession events at S&P 500 companies over the last 16 years.” Here are some highlights from their latest findings.

High turnover rates in retail and consumer product industries indicate that there is a major shift occurring.

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Exploring Types of Corporate Governance Training

Becoming a board member is a great achievement in and of itself, but becoming a successful board member poses a unique challenge—one that can be made easier through the utilization of top-notch corporate governance training.

Speaker giving a talk on corporate Business Conference. Audience at the conference hall. Business and Entrepreneurship event.

The types of corporate governance training range in both price and in duration. In this blog, we’ll highlight some of those options.

Online Courses

Luckily, the digital age we’re living in presents many convenient ways for board members to grow their knowledge and expertise.

You can watch a quick 5-minute video about cyber security concerns online, or you can jump in a weeks-long online education track.

In fact, numerous corporate governance organizations offer extensive educational tools for directors. For instance, the National Association for Corporate Directors offers a course for board members called “Education Framework,” and clearly outlines its purpose: “The establishment of a standard in director education creates much-needed clarity about the knowledge and competencies directors should develop to become high-performing board leaders.”

A large number of sites offer similar online programs that are low-cost but highly respected.
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