Best of 2019 – top 5 board management blog posts | Aprio
January 7, 2020
Ian Warner

Best of 2019 – top 5 board management blog posts from Aprio 

We covered a lot this past year, including board management priorities like how to boost engagement with board software, create better meeting agendas, and what experts are saying about tackling modern board governance challenges. 

Check out our roundup of the most-read Aprio posts of 2019. Thank you so much for reading! 

#1: PACE credit union’s ousted CEO is a cautionary tale on board oversight

News that the former chief executive officer of PACE Savings & Credit Union made a secret loan without disclosing it to the board serves as a cautionary tale for other Canadian credit unions. It’s a reminder of the importance of upholding a culture of transparency at the board, even if the CEO has held their leadership position for more than a quarter of a century. 

While in this case a regulator stepped in to implement corrective measures (including putting former CEO Larry Smith and his son Phil Smith on leave and subsequently letting them go), boards can’t simply rely on external oversight.  

Proactively making sure that what happened to PACE doesn’t happen to your board involves using board portal software that creates and reinforces a culture of accountability. Read more. 

#2: 10 tips for better board agendas and board minutes

Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is downright futile. But board meeting bad habits – like most bad habits – are hard to shake. A common complaint amongst directors is that board meetings are boring. Directors join boards because they’re passionate about an organization’s vision and want to solve meaty challenges. Board meetings must better harness this initiative and enthusiasm.

When Aprio asks governance experts what board administrators can do to quickly improve meetings, we hear one answer consistently: improve meeting agendas and minutes. These 10 best practices are easy to adopt, which means they’ll instantly boost board productivity. Read more. 

#3: The modern challenges boards face – expert panel  

How are boards leaders evolving how their board of directors operates to best perform in this age of fierce competition, diverse recruitment pressure, and intensifying governance regulation? And how can a board of directors portal play a role in supporting modern board governance? 

We consulted a panel of financial organizations, a non-profit, and an industry governance regulator to learn about how their board roles and priorities are evolving. 

The interviews explored how the boards of these organizations are engaging new directors, getting strategic value from the board, embracing board management portal software, and managing data security and governance – with the overall goal of better performance. They also told us what they see coming next. Read more

#4: How finding and closing the gaps in your board will drive engagement

There’s a particular concern we hear expressed over and over from CEOs, board chairs, and executives: that to satisfy the organization’s strategic ambitions, boards need to elevate their game. However, at best, only two or three of board members are consistently engaged.

Most directors are missing the mark, likely due to gaps in how the board debates, communicates, frames conversations, votes, and runs board meetings. These CEOs, chairs, and executives worry that their best directors – the ones who are actually engaged, informed and efficient – are flight risks. They worry about board succession planning and their ability to attract younger and more diverse directors to join the board down the road.

There’s also the concern that the board, an important part of the governance structure of any organization, isn’t truly fulfilling its true potential for strategic governance.

Assessing the gaps in your board is an important step to help you make the shift to being more informed, efficient, and engaging. But breaking through the low engagement barrier requires you to take a progressive approach to managing your board and choosing the technology solution to help you achieve your goals. Consider these variables when evaluating the gaps in your board.
Read more.   

#5: Ways to increase your board’s transparency

Being on a board can feel like you are living in a fishbowl. Disclosure requirements continue to intensify and there’s a shift underway to what the Harvard Business Review describes as transparent business leadership.

Businesses are being held to higher account by external voices and views, including those of board directors. It’s not enough to simply trust that the CEO and board chair are sharing full information – board members need to actively ensure that they are informed and ready to ask the tough questions.

But how can directors fulfill their roles as governance accountability gatekeepers? How can boards make transparency practical and economical? Board management software can play a significant role. (This is actually a 2018 post but it remains a hot topic even as we enter 2020). Read more.

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