The Boardroom Challenge
Thu 18 Jun 2020
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:
1. How will you use technology differently
in your business, in the future, both internally and in engaging with your
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?
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
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
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?
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?
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,
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
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
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
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
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?