Effective Governance has just launched its new Governance Action Plan (G.A.P.) www.eg-gap.com.au tool, which is an online check of how your governance is performing. It is free and easy to use. The G.A.P. questionnaire consists of 20 questions based around the Corporate Governance Practice Framework® shown below.
Source: Kiel, G, Nicholson, G, Tunny, JA & Beck, J, 2012, Directors at Work, Thomson Reuters, Sydney.After completing the questionnaire, we will analyse your responses and provide you with a personalised report with recommendations as to how to improve your governance practices. The results of the G.A.P. will represent your personal perception of how your governance system is performing. Your perception may differ from the perception others, so having your colleagues complete the survey will give you a more complete picture of how your organisation’s governance shapes up. Please note: Any personal information you provide when completing this survey will be protected by Effective Governance in accordance with the 13 Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) contained in Privacy Act 1988 (Cth).
Risk governance is a key role of the board and is about applying the principles of good governance to the identification, assessment, management and communication of risks in an organisation so that the organisation’s risk-taking activities are aligned with its capacity to absorb losses and its long-term viability.
In a time of increasing change for the Australian not-for-profit sector, boards must be able to harness a range of knowledge, skills and experience through their directors to drive the development of ideas into innovative solutions that make the best use of organisation’s resources to deliver services, meet the expectations placed on them by governments, clients and the public, and fulfil their mission. In his new article for Better Boards (What Does an Innovative Board Look Like – Value Creating), James Beck discusses what innovation means for a board, and how innovation can become value creating rather than just another buzzword.
Strategic development is a joint board-management responsibility. It is the key stage of the strategy process where the board and senior management team work together to develop the organisation’s strategy. At this stage, the attention is on the top-level strategy; the overall corporate strategy and, depending on the size of the organisation, the business strategies of the major divisions. It is now common for the board and management team go off-site for a board retreat to discuss the current strategy in detail. If the strategy is working and is well understood by both directors and managers, this stage might involve nothing more than an annual review of progress, discussion of changes in the strategic landscape and a reaffirmation of the core strategies. On the other hand, if current results are poor or if major changes are forecast for the external environment, a far more searching review and re-evaluation of strategy might be required. This may take a longer than one retreat and may require a number of follow-up workshops.
The Better Boards Conference is the premier governance and leadership conference for leaders of Australasia’s non-profit organisations. The conference theme for 2016 is Game-changing Moves... Governing for Maximum Impact and our Managing Director, James Beck, is delivering the Keynote Presentation ‘What Does an Innovative Board Look Like – Value Creating’. Here is the abstract: In a time of increasing change for the Australian non-profit sector, boards must be able to harness a range of knowledge, skills and experience to drive the development of ideas into innovative solutions. James will discuss what innovation means for a board, and how the quest for innovation can be aligned with the organisation’s strategy and values, so that innovation becomes value creating rather than just another buzzword. For more on the conference theme, program and speakers, see here.
If you asked the senior management team whether they saw value in attending board meetings, what would their response be? All too often, from our experience, senior management teams get treated as though their time is limitless; with all board requests for information receiving high priority regardless of the managers’ capacity to action them. Similarly, senior managers may have to devote considerable time each month not only to attending board meetings, but also compiling papers and/or presentations for the board. And then there are those situations in which board meetings are fraught with dysfunction: the directors are at war with each other or with the CEO and management team—hardly encouraging for the management team.
A recent Harvard Business Review article, The Political Issues Board Directors care Most About, identified the economy as the number one issue for global board directors. The economy is very important to both for-profit and non-profit companies and organisations. For example, when there is high unemployment, the demand for many companies’ goods and services will fall and revenues and profits will drop. At the same time there will be increased demands for assistance from non-profits such as St Vincent de Paul. Also, the state of the economy affects the costs faced by both for-profit companies and non-profits. For example, when the economy is going well and the jobs market is tight, wage rates tend to increase at a faster rate than usual. Furthermore, economic conditions affect interest rates, as interest rates tend to be lower when economic conditions are weak and higher when they are stronger.
An article by Hamish Williams (Behind closed doors: decision making in the boardroom) in the Australian Institute of Management’s (AIM) February newsletter makes some important points about board decision making and also provides information on AIM’s Governance Foundations for Senior Managers and Executives program, which was developed by Effective Governance.
If challenging the joy of Brisbane’s Riverfire isn’t bad enough, one steps gingerly into challenging the sponsorship of the latest Oprah tour of Australia. This week’s holiday edition of the Australian Financial Review has a story on the decision by industry fund Sunsuper to spend around $1 million in sponsoring a speaking tour by American chat show host Oprah Winfrey. Sunsuper is also the major sponsor of Brisbane’s annual Riverfire fireworks spectacular.
One of the proposals announced in the Australian Government’s National Science and Innovation Agenda statement is a ‘safe harbour’ for company directors from personal liability for insolvent trading, if they appoint a restructuring adviser to develop a turnaround plan for the company.