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The Boardroom Challenge

In my last blog I wrote about the importance of boards ensuring they are well connected both in terms of technology and relationships with key stakeholders. To help you assess how connected you are, here are 20 groups of questions you might wish to consider based on what you are learning during the Covid-19 crisis:

Technology

1. How will you use technology differently in your business, in the future, both internally and in engaging with your customers? I

2. In which areas has intensive use of technology during Covid-19 shown it needs to be improved? How robust are your cyber security and GDPR controls?

Relationships n the boardroom

3. How well are the independent directors providing a high level of support combined with constructive challenge to the executive team? In which areas could it be strengthened? Does the chair know how well executives have been coping with the additional pressure?

 4. Are the CEO and executive directors clearly leading by example during Covid-19, eg with regards to their remuneration?

5. Has Covid-19 highlighted any skills gaps among the independent directors or executive team, eg with regards to technology or people skills and how best can they be closed?

6. Are the succession plans up to date for key board members, executive and independent directors, especially with regard to unexpected losses or temporary absences?

Strategy and business model

7. How might the business model and strategy need to change as the move to new normal occurs? How can you best cope with the uncertainty as to when ‘new normal is likely to emerge and its form, nationally and globally?

Risk management and resilience

8. How will Covid-19 change your approach to risk management? Which risks require more attention? How could crisis planning be improved?

9. What key actions are needed to strengthen your business resilience and over what timeframe?  

Employee relationships and corporate culture highlighted any changes

10. How can relationships with employees, and the wider workforce, be strengthened and business effectiveness enhanced, eg better more regular communications including virtual team meetings, robust engagement surveys asking searching questions, more remote/flexible working, increased focus on mental health, realignment of roles?

11. In which areas do you need to strengthen recruitment, education and development of team members in order to be ready for the ‘new normal’ in your business?

12 Has Covid-19 highlighted any necessary changes in organisational culture? How will they be achieved, eg innovation, team-working, resilience?

Customer relationships

13. How can you engage or work with customers more effectively, both on an individual basis and collectively, eg by better use of technology? Do you need to change your goods or services?

14 How can you improve information on customers, eg what they value most, which are the most important to your business?

Supplier relationships

15. Has Covid-19 highlighted you may need to change your supply chain? Do you need to manufacture more component parts closer to home? Do you need to increase stocks of key components to strengthen resilience?

Investor relationships and those with providers of finance

16. How can you build strong relationships with your investors and other providers of finance, eg greater transparency, by additional engagement with information better tailored to their needs? Do you know the information investors and other providers of finance most want?

17. How are your sector ratings likely to change relative to your competitors and is any action needed in response, eg acquiring failing competitors?

18. What disclosures should you make in your annual report as regards the impact of Covid-19 on the year under review, future prospects and viability? How rigorous is your stress testing?

19 How do you plan to develop your financial resilience if debt levels and losses have built up as a result of Covid-19? Are you discussing this with investors and other providers of finance?

Improving sustainability

20. What are the potential benefits to sustainability and your carbon footprint, in terms of making better use of technology and enhancing stakeholder relationships, eg less work-based travel and more remote working?

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