Friday 24 January 2014

Who’s got your back?

When I conduct remarkability reviews for organisations I start by finding out answers to 96 questions.

If you'd like the questions please email me

The first 5 questions are to do with board conformance and performance.

You do have a board don’t you?

My wife and I and the only directors of our private company. We don’t have a formal board yet we do meet monthly to review the strategy for the continued growth of our business and how we are tracking against our execution plan. Are you doing this?

Crucial to the success of our business is the external mentors we consult with and who advise us, some whom we pay and some we don’t. This is where the 5 questions come in.

1) Does each board member have a genuine commitment to your organisation and business best practice in general?

My wife and I can answer a resounding yes. Our accountant for example doesn’t just do our tax returns. He has an abiding interest in whether or not our services work for his kind of business and he pays us for our services like we pay for his.

We have a marketing guru that we consult with regularly as another example.

I also meet with a hard nosed, recently retired business man who makes sure I am free of BS in my business offerings and dealings.

The bottom line. You must have people not involved in your day to day business that are keeping you accountable to your strategy and execution plan. Can you answer yes to this first question?

Intrepreneurs do this too. You don’t have to own a business to have a “board” of people watching your back.

2) Does each board member have real and relevant skills?

My wife and I rely on people with technological, creative, and marketing skills in particular. Who’s got your back in the areas of your work that you need an independent view?

3) Can each board member provide appropriate strategic leadership in compliance, governance or conformance to laws and principles, as well as achieving high performance in a conformance environment?

There is a lot of red tape and stupid bureaucracy in the way of running a business or a leading a team. We all need people to help us to cut through the crap. Who’s got your back?

4) Are board meetings effective and efficient and focused on strategy and execution?

My wife and I invite outsiders who we respect to our board meetings. People not emotionally involved can provide tremendous value. We all need good doses of reality on a regular basis. Who’s got your back?

5) Does the board chairperson inspire and influence the CEO/MD well?

I lead our business. My wife takes care of matters in our business that aren’t core work for me. She is also brilliant at keeping me focused and real. I still need others however to make sure our workplace and every transaction and interaction is BS free and so I regularly ask others to take a look and give blunt feedback and feedforward. Who’s go your back?

I saw some data recently that shows that over 60% of family and private companies do not have a formal board and, of those that do have a board, 83% do not have an external board member. Don’t be one of these statistics.

Regardless of whether we own and lead a business or lead a team we need to be able answers these 5 questions well otherwise we can’t be certain that the dream we are turning into reality is based on solid ground.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

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