Boards doing more, by doing better

The board’s key purpose “is to ensure the company’s prosperity by collectively directing the company’s affairs, while meeting the appropriate interests of its shareholders and relevant stakeholders”.

Standards for the Board, IoD.

We recently shared in our State of Leadership Report how Salesforce Founder Marc Benioff has stated that capitalism as we know it, is dead. But what does this mean for boards? And can South African organisations or organisations in struggling economies afford to pay attention to this seemingly fluffy philosophy. The resounding response from a recent public interview with Mteto Nyati, CEO of Altron Group, is they can’t afford not to.

Nyati recounted a story recalling his tenure at IBM where he was asked what the biggest challenge was to maintaining a 20% growth would be. He stated that lack of skills could affect profitability in the near future. Long story short, Nyati and his team made it their priority to take on 7000 graduates who were trained within IBM and later taken on board by resellers and suppliers. The result? A continuation of company growth with 7000 graduates given employment and trained for the future.

This doesn’t sound fluffy nor does it sound like shareholders were disappointed.

Working with various boards and EXCO teams at the interface between strategy, organizational culture and leadership development, we see the need for good business as pressing, not only as responsibility of each organisation to have a positive impact on shareholders but on the economies and all stakeholders.

Governance at board level has typically been a checklist activity but what if a more intentional approach was taken. Questions that could be asked include?

  • Who are our stakeholders? Are we really clear on who they are?
  • What is the greatest challenge affecting the growth of our organisation?
  • How can we create a social and / or environmental win to solve our challenge?
  • What needs to shift in the way we engage with each other and EXCO?
  • What needs to shift in the culture of the organisation?
  • What do we stand for? Is there consistency between values we espouse and our lived behaviour?

For more relevant questions, feel free to download our leadership report on the homepage of our website. Alternatively join us in our Systemic Team Leadership Programme for Boards and EXCO on the 14th and 15th of May 2020.

Here’s to doing more by doing better.