Multiple Accountability – Multiple Dimensions – Multiple Intelligence
We are entering a new era of director accountability. Boards are called on to extend and access multiple dimensions beyond strategy, good problem solving and general IQ.
Increasingly, Boards and individual directors are advancing their capacities for self-awareness, role discernment, board relations, agility, and creative thinking. These Multiple intelligences form the architecture of culture, rapidly accruing in value.
This is called for as industries move to increasing disruption and enterprises increase director accountability.
Our purpose is to help directors and the board as a whole work purposefully, mindfully and creatively within the changing context and fast moving future.
Our results are built on three decades of executive peak performance facilitation, board development and consultation, leadership coaching, inter-group relations and at times, crisis intervention, as director of Diana Percy Pty Ltd, co-director of Vogel Percy Pty Ltd, Founder of Organisation Development Australia and post graduate executive education programs.
Some of Australia’s best company boards have trusted us over the years to assist in honing their multiple intelligences to govern better and achieve more. Multiple intelligences include IQ, EQ, SQ, creativity, mindfulness and result in skills and practices such as discernment, innovative thinking, dialogue and agility.
 See for example, Graham Bradley’s Essential Director Update at AICD; BlackRock CEO, Larry
Fink’s “A Sense of Purpose”; the Final Report of Hanes Royal Commission into Banking.
As Boards are moving into multiple dimensions as community leaders, social influencers and virtual educators/commentators, so the breadth of their role, awareness and mindset is expanding. For many reasons, the quality of Board discussions has become of central importance.
A Flow of Meaning
There is an art and skill to dialogue, rarely seen traditionally in the boardroom. Dialogue is not the same as discussion, conversation or debate. The term dialogue comes from the Greek, dia*logos, a flow of meaning.
As a board member you all have expertise in your own field, such as Strategy, Finance, Law, Risk, People, Innovation, and need to contribute from that platform. However, your speciality can put you in a box. Every board member must contribute across all domains as well, remaining present and meaningfully involved.
Now we are in an era of increasing director visibility and accountability, the exchange of meaning through dialogue inside and outside the boardroom is becoming an essential skill. That is why mastering the skill of dialogue is powerful now for board directors.
“Words are the primary tool of every leader. So much depends on
the words we use,
the ways we speak, and
the conversations we foster amongst others.
Foolish words bring ruin.
Words of value build people of value.”
The skills of dialogue can be learned over time. The art of dialogue, as with any art, comes with practice and awareness. Infinitely more dynamic and innovative than a transactional discourse, dialogue increases productivity and resiliance.
Summoning Board Genius
Genius is found in the spirit of a place, according to the original meaning of the word. No matter where meetings are held, the board itself is an entity and forms its own sense of place. Consciously or unconsciously every board creates a unique place when it meets. Place has its own nature and quality not replicated anywhere else. It is made up of people, stories, context, history and relationship – a past, present and future.
We assist you to hold board dialogues and develop the genius of your board.
Many interactions occur in the board with much talk of strategy, risk, functions and problem solving, but true board conversations are rare. This is not talking about strengths and weaknesses or politics, nor usual board agenda. It is a living conversation about the core purpose of the company, the lifeblood of board itself and therefore the wholehearted purpose and roles of individual members.
The core purpose of the board must always be clear and agreed with conviction. Board purpose is the reason d’etre, the spirited ‘Why’ the board and organisation exists. Your purpose is the North Star when direction is sought in times of turbulence and ambiguity. Although circumstances may change (such as changes to finance or industry), the purpose of the board remains steadfast.
Board Dialogues provide rigor and an investigation into the way the board is working on three levels:
- Firstly, the board’s way, meaning the way forward, it’s current and future direction.
- Secondly, the board’s way, meaning the way board members are working together and the nature of the board culture that has developed.
- Thirdly, the board’s way, in this case meaning more self-aware engagement that strengthens alignment, insight, values and encourages better questions.
The best Board Dialogues evoke the board genius. Together directors find the collective true spirit of the board. This not only brings out the best in each member, it goes beyond to the board’s collective wisdom.
Board Hot Spots
Current official enquiries and reports have all raised serious issues of corporate governance. They hone in on Board Credibility, Reputation, Visibility, Renewal and Structure. At the core of all is Core Purpose – that is, a commitment (or lack) to publicly make a stand for why the company exists. shift hot spots to advance the board potential
The Findings of the Commission into misconduct in the Banking and Finance Industries have confronted Board culture and practices across many other industries as well. It is time to attend to governance culture and practices that are no longer fit for purpose.
Board hot spots to rise to full intelligence as a super high-level governance team.
Board Hot Spots Framework
Companies are now taking the step of articulating their “Core Purpose” and publicly making a stand for why the company exists. A core purpose statement is not a clever advertising slogan; it describes how the company is present and committed to the communities they are part of. Core purpose goes beyond vision, mission, values and strategy. It speaks directly to the organisation’s constituent base. An example of core purpose from a traffic control systems company is this, “We save lives”.
Reputation is a fragile asset. The Banking Royal Commission highlighted the risks to an organisation’s reputation if conduct is below good governance standards and community expectations. Incidents that previously have gone unnoticed can quickly spread throughout the world via social media. It takes many years to build company reputation and only one incident to destroy it. Commentators estimate over 25% of market value is tied up in company reputation.
When an organisation acts in ways that are perceived as deceitful or dishonest by its stakeholders and the general public, it quickly loses credibility. Trust starts to decline and its authority and expertise is questioned. The Board sets the tone for their company’s credibility, made visible through good reputation and demonstrating the company core purpose.
Board renewal is not just about finding new directors. It also includes time out to work on the board as well as in the board, opportunities for self-evaluation, and fresh approaches to old problems with innovative thinking. This can be challenging and requires openness, flexibility and skilled or facilitated dialogue.
Most customers, employees, suppliers and other stakeholders see directors as distant people in the background. Being unseen and unheard means being unknown. It is easy to trust those you know and to mistrust those you don’t know. Visibility has strong links to credibility, better communication, and promoting trustworthiness. Being a company director is now an active role.
The foundations of effective board functioning are not always applied with agility and awareness. Company and industry changes may call for structural review and development resulting in innovation and adaptation. Structures and habitual practices also need adaptation and fresh eyes in times of change.