company culture

Company Culture Starts With Corporate Governance

You’ve seen the headlines—“company culture” is one of the most-covered topics in business leadership over the past couple of years. You can read about why you shouldn’t just let your company culture happen.

You can explore “Why Corporate Culture Is Becoming More Important.” And, you can see how productive culture will boost your organization’s performance.

Before we launch into how company culture begins with the board, let’s define the term we’re using.

The Definition of Company Culture

According to Wikipedia, company culture (also referred to as organizational culture) “encompasses values and behaviors that contribute to the unique social and psychological environment of an organization…and includes the organization’s vision, values, norms, systems, symbols, language, assumptions, environment, location, beliefs, and habits.”

Yes, that’s a long definition! To simplify, culture is created through a blend of the practices, policies, and people that make up an organization.
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corporate governance

What Does Good Corporate Governance Look Like?

It’s easy to talk about strengthening your board of directors, but how do you know when you’ve reached a high-functioning level of corporate governance?

In this day and age, building and maintaining a successful board means checking off many different boxes. As the role of the corporate director continues to expand and technology keeps leaping forward, board members should take the time to reflect on their impact as individuals and as a group.

Here are some signs that your board is thriving:

Directors have a firm understanding of their responsibilities

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board management strategies

5 Best Practices for Effective Board Management

Modern boards of directors must constantly adapt to changing times, changing technology, and changing expectations for companies and organizations. The most successful boards are able to combine strategic vision with effective group dynamics in order to make the best decisions possible. We’ve compiled a list of 5 effective board management strategies to help your board succeed.

1. Clearly separate the role of the board from the CEO’s ability to run the organization.

The CEO and the board of directors are a team. Starting from the time when a board finds and hires a CEO, the board and CEO must be on the same page about expectations, communication, and, most importantly,
roles.

The board of directors provides oversight and input into an organization’s progress. Meanwhile, it is the CEO who is busy moving the company forward with day-to-day affairs.
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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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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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Fighting Boardroom Apathy: What to Do When Your Board Gets Bored

boardroom apathy

At times, board service can be exciting, engaging, and groundbreaking. Board members might have the opportunity to lead the revitalization of a struggling company or discover new avenues for growth.

Board service will occasionally feel tedious or rote, though. The truth is that being on a board involves some repetitive practices, but that doesn’t mean that directors’ eyes have to glaze over during meetings.

So how can you keep things fresh and focused on a strategic future? Here are some of our suggestions on fighting boardroom apathy:

Don’t let the agenda become an afterthought

We’ve shared our thoughts on creating better board agendas here, but this topic is important when it comes to keeping board meetings fresh, too. The agenda-building process should be interactive, and board members need to think critically about how to structure them from month to month.

Rather than adopting a system that just rolls over after every meeting, challenge your board to create agendas that will spark new conversations.
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How to Ensure Board and CEO Collaboration

board and ceo collaboration

Board members and CEOs may serve different purposes in an organization, but with the right working relationship, they can help take a company to new heights.

Creating a strong bond between these two entities takes time, focus, and mutual respect, but once it’s been created, the connection can be the difference between a company that just gets by and one that excels.

Make it a priority to ensure board and CEO collaboration. When it comes to getting the most out of the board to CEO relationship, here are our suggestions:

CEOs should interact with board members individually, and as a group

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Warren Buffett’s 10 Commandments for Board Leaders

Warren Buffett is perhaps the most recognized name in the history of American corporate governance. As the leader of Berkshire Hathaway, a multinational conglomerate holding company, Buffett has become one of the most accomplished businesspersons of all time.

Warren Buffett's 10 Commandments

Because of his immense success, Buffett’s advice carries with it great weight and authority. Many of his essays and letters have been collected for publication, and he’s known among journalists for his quotable quips and reasonable advice for investors.

Recently, a George Washington University professor named Lawrence Cunningham compiled a list of Buffett’s most important guidelines for corporate directors, which was published in the latest edition of NACD’s Directorship magazine.

You can read a condensed and edited version of that article here. These “ten commandments” for business leaders, as Cunningham calls them, are what Buffett cites for his vast amount of boardroom triumphs.
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The Pros and Cons of Going Public

Going public IPO

If you’re a board member for a large or fast growing company, there may come a time when you and your colleagues will be asked to determine whether that company should “go public.”

Investopedia explains, “Going public refers to a private company’s initial public offering (IPO), thus becoming a publicly traded and owned entity. Businesses usually go public to raise capital in hopes of expanding.”

Companies that decide to go public are not only faced with enormous opportunities to grow their organization, they also have to deal with the downsides or challenges associated with the transition.

According to a survey by The Next Million, these are some of the major challenges of going public:
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