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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Our board is very effective – why would we spend time and money to review its performance?

In the Australian principles-based jurisdiction, good governance strongly advocates that all boards participate in a periodic review process and, ‘if not, why not?’ Even when boards work together harmoniously and are successful we recommend a review. Elite boards are proactive assessing themselves, retrospectively and prospectively.

 The Board Accord evaluation process is not designed to remediate – it challenges and enables all boards to become better boards!

 The Board Accord evaluation process is not designed to remediate – it challenges and enables all boards to become better boards! The question is not “How much will it cost us?”. The question is, “How much will it cost us to not grow and develop?”

2. Our board has a difficult issue. What difficult boardroom scenarios can Board Accord redress?

One governance guru suggested the boardroom is often a ‘loose alliance of sworn enemies’ dominated by the three-letter word, ‘ego’. It’s a harsh assessment indeed. Others have suggested the board is ‘a flawed institution’, obstructing management’s best intentions. At Board Accord we suggest the Board is a fine institution – not flawed. Nor are directors. But there can be flawed human behaviours that are preventing it performing optimally. 

The BA Audits are revealing and provide a platform to reverse stereotypical boardroom dilemmas – lack of commercial capability, skill and governance deficits, micro-managing, succession issues, unhelpful cliques, them and us scenarios, A and B teams, free riders, recalcitrant directors, lack of diversity, personality problems, inflated egos, unexpressed tensions or fault lines between directors, shareholders, management, CEOs or chairs. 

Board Accord ‘tables’ issues and once measured, you can manage, and refocus resources on translating intention and activity into stakeholder value.  

3. What were the drivers to establish Board Accord?

BA consultants had all worked in the executive and board space but were never wholly satisfied with the vision and/or the processes of those organisations. Board Accord’s vision evolved in response to different drivers influenced by many outstanding thought leaders, an ongoing shift in the international corporate landscape and in response to director dissatisfaction with existing traditional boardroom review processes. BA seeks to position the board review in an architecture of Professional Development.

4. Why are “profit, people and planet” configured as boardroom outcomes?

  • Today’s for-profit businesses are factoring Corporate Social Responsibility (profit, people and planet) 
  • Not-for-profits are developing sustainable business models
  • Governments are forging market-based approaches to service delivery. 
Out of this blurring of traditional boundaries, a different model of enterprise is emerging, driven by entrepreneurs and leaders motivated by various currencies, not solely financial. The business landscape is of necessity shifting to a new and more sustainable capitalism, but the methodologies for assessing and supporting it were unmoving. Board Accord was also launched in response to that movement.

Board Accord walks the talk and actively participates in pro bono services and philanthropic endeavours.

5. Does Board Accord’s focus on ‘dynamic’ overlook process, governance and financials?

BA’s assessments and consultancy do both.
  • Top performing boards have to balance two critical domains –
  • They must manage the mission, strategy, risk, landscape, business architecture and systems through a framework of good governance 
  • They must manage interpersonal dynamics. 
  • People can make or break the enterprise.

The people dynamic is challenging and often poorly understood by directors but lies at the heart of most unaligned or dysfunctional boards. BA has a lot of capability as an agent of positive change in those challenging domains.

Both. They are synergistic –
  • The Audits reveal organisational strengths and the pockets of challenge/opportunity. 
  • The ensuing consulting collaboration erodes the personal and organisational blind spots that prevent people realising outcomes. 
We are collaborators and value the relationship as much as the assessment tools. Consequently we tend to work with individuals and organisations that are receptive to the challenge of having someone from outside their box engage them. 
 

They are completed effortlessly online - each director logs on to a confidential online portal at a convenient time. It then takes less than 30 minutes to thoughtfully complete the assessment of self and others. BA Audits are customised, targeted and are definitely not onerous ‘360s’. They comprise 14 - 20 questions that canvass the critical areas of enquiry.

The Audits are supported by a unique sociometric metric, or Network Analysis, that profiles all the relationships around the table.

8. How can such brief surveys yield statistically significant results?

Ample research suggests that leaders don’t want to be bogged down in ‘analysis paralysis’ - today’s directors and CEOs want simpler diagnostics and solutions to complex issues. This conclusion was supported by a recent IBM leadership review suggesting leaders feel overwhelmed by the complexity of problems in the current environment and don’t want to be burdened by complex solution strategies. Our diagnostic tools are user-friendly, comprehensive in data retrieval and promote conversations that remove obstacles to achieving outcomes.

9. How has Board Accord determined what questions to ask?

The Audits are informed by –
  • research and best boardroom practice discussed in the literature, at professional development events, international conferences and on thought leader blogs.
  • cutting edge theoretical discourse in Emotional Intelligence, Positive Psychology, Appreciative Enquiry and Integral and Developmental Theory
  • boardroom KPIs including leadership, skills, governance, organisational performance, fiscal and fiduciary literacy and interpersonal interactions.
  • Uniquely, they seek to raise situational awareness of individual directors and the quality of interpersonal interaction around the boardroom table – the very basis of commercial success and good corporate governance. 

10. Can the assessments provide benchmarking across the industry?

BA surveys are often highly customised and are less concerned with benchmarking across industries, states or nations. There is a value in benchmarking, but our focus is primarily customised director capacity-building to enable the organisation to actualise personal and professional aspirations and create shareholder value. There is ample benchmarking data in the public domain we draw upon. We also have access to a wealth of qualitative and anecdotal feedback on trends from our interactions with clients. 

The Audits are suited to any Board or Executive team because of their capacity for customisation. They can also be adapted for unique cultural environments like the indigenous boardroom, university senates, family businesses and local government.

The programs are priced according to the size, type of program and time frame the client organisation wants to engage and is negotiated in the initial presentation. Our fee structure is very competitive.

These topics have been developed and delivered on demand over a couple of decades, across the globe, principally servicing the executive space. With our consultancy’s rebranding and penetration into the board space it became obvious that opportunities for directors to personally and professionally develop were not so great.

Directors are often time poor. Following the Audits, coaching and conversation, directors often see the value of taking time out from their busy schedule to participate in some of the programs

In particular, the themed Q and A format really appeals to boards and has the advantage of allowing directors the opportunity for ‘thinking out loud’ around a topical subject. It could also be said that the board space, has tended to lag behind the executive space in taking up professional development possibilities. A topical example is Mindfulness Training, currently popular in the Silicon Valley, with numerous high profile Fortune 500 companies and elite business schools. It has yet to gain traction in the Australian boardroom.

It’s only a matter of time and Board Accord has both the knowledge and the experienced personnel to deliver Mindfulness training for directors who feel motivated to engage the cutting edge Leadership technologies available in today’s marketplace. 

14. What distinguishes the Board Accord one-on-one coaching sessions from the plethora of coaching methodologies in the market place?

Board Accord personal coaching is two tiered –
  • It aims to support directors to make outstanding contributions in the boardroom and 
  • it also endeavours to assist directors engage in personal and professional development opportunities, network within the domain and map successful career pathways.
Our expertise in training in almost every ‘soft skill’ area for more than two decades across several continents and extensive training and experience in coaching/counselling gives a solid foundation to assist clients achieve breakthroughs in whatever area they need.

At any given time we consult to a number of high profile individuals on workplace issues, family issues, or health and financial issues. We are particularly sought out to instruct clients in meditation given that it has now achieved international recognition as the best available resilience training and the single most effective methodology to improve awareness, intelligence, EQ and health.

15. Why is Board Accord presenting so regularly around the topic of Technological Disruption?

It’s a response to the need of the time. Our experience in the field over the last decade and every global leadership report we have downloaded in the last 12 months confirms that the world is engaged in a 4th Industrial Revolution. Its no exaggeration to suggest that populations, governments, institutions and the boardroom are insufficiently aware of the tsunami of disruptive change on the horizon and not fully prepared to manage. Board Accord’s engagements are designed to enable individuals and organisations to developmentally shift in order to meet and transform the challenge into opportunity .

"The cultural dynamic of the boardroom and C Suite is challenging, often poorly understood and a major causative factor in unaligned or dysfunctional boards. We’re seeing increasing recognition of the importance of Emotional Intelligence (EQ), psychological and behavioural typologies,"
~ Robert Gordon, AICD Company Director Monthly, Sept 2014 – Putting the Board under the Microscope

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