July 29th, 2013
By Andrew B Morris
Whether you are running a large organisation or a very small one, the top team rule always applies. Look around the board room table at the people entrusted with making the company great and ask this simple question. “Are we making do with mediocrity? If so, why?”
The answer is often that we’re afraid. Perhaps one or more of these sounds familiar…
- The people on the board have been there for a long time and the thought of replacing them is locked in a box marked “don’t open”.
- They have equity and we would have to buy them out.
- Their performance might improve. After all, they were great once!
- They know where the dead bodies are buried.
- How would replacing them look to staff and customers?
Our top team ought to enable us to keep a clear desk while looking at the horizon. If we’re having to deal with too much everyday detail we’re either poor at delegation or we’re compensating in some way for poor performance by members of our top team.
Get the top team right and the sky’s the limit. Keep them match fit and you’ll keep on winning. As the African proverb puts it, “If you want to travel fast, go alone. If you want to travel far, go together.”
More than a decade ago, the Institute of Directors publication Standards for the Board set a benchmark for both the operation of boards and the behaviour of individual directors. Its key points are as relevant today as they were in 2002, whatever the size of your business.
How does your board measure up?
- Define and review the role and responsibilities of each individual director and how these contribute to the effectiveness of the board.
- Board members are effectively briefed in time to prepare for meetings.
- Regularly review the quality of the board’s decisions, advice and its actions.
- The company’s organisation structure and capability is appropriate for implementing its chosen strategies.
- Company objectives are consistent with the mission, values and needs of stakeholders, and form the basis of company strategy.
- The vision and mission are championed by the entire board throughout the organisation.
- The vision and mission are monitored and reviewed regularly.
- Company objectives are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound.
- The board regularly reviews the company’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.
- The organisation’s culture encourages continuous change and questioning of convention.
- The board clearly delegates authority to management and regularly reviews management’s effectiveness.