The 4-Perspective Mindset of a Modern Board

Previously I introduced the GovernRight Framework, underpinned by the 7 Pillars of Good Governance. Examining each pillar in more detail, I will commence by focusing on the first pillar: Right People, Right Roles, One Team. This good governance pillar requires the Board to understand its role, authorities and responsibilities and have all aspects needed to operate successfully as a team.

The mindset of each director, and collectively the Board, is fundamental to effect organisational good governance. It is only with the right Board mindset that a culture of engagement and accountability can thrive throughout an organisation. Over my 25 year career in consulting, sitting at board tables and lecturing at the AICD, I’ve come to understand that good, active, corporate governance requires the directors to adopt the following four perspectives:

1. The Board must precisely understand its primary role to oversee organisational growth; change; risk; and resource deployment. This requires the Board to set and provide clear guidance on the organisation’s:

  • embraced strategic intent; and
  • risk appetite.

2. The Board must be mindful of different time horizons when carrying out its oversight function. Too often a Board will focus on the past and present, ignoring its key role to navigate the future for the organisation. A Board must:

  • ensure that today and tomorrow are under control; and   
  • have a clear balanced focus on next month and next year.

3. Reporting to the Board should be relevant but elevated so as not to drag directors down into crippling detail. Concise board papers are essential for the Board to focus on:

  • confirming adherence to agreed practices; and 
  • examining and considering relevant trends.

4. Providing the best response to issues arising by addressing challenges and opportunities both to the

  • calendar, through scheduled Board meetings; and
  • issue, as and when needed.

By adopting this four-perspective mindset, a Board is better placed to create the optimal environment for good governance at all levels of an organisation.