Going beyond governance – The art of talking about what really matters

Jim Haudan Aug21-CEO-Root-Inc

The subject of this episode of the Better Boards Podcast Series dealt with “Going beyond governance – The art of talking about what really matters”. Jim Haudan, Co-founder, and Chief Executive Officer of Root Learning (now part of Accenture), spoke to Dr Sabine Dembkowski.

Jim Haudan

Jim has more than 20 years of experience helping organisations and individuals unleash hidden potential by fully engaging people in the critical changes of their business. He has worked with thousands of leaders around the globe and many Fortune 500 boards.

Many boards feel stifled by compliance.  More and more time is spent on compliance issues and difficult conversations outside rather than inside the boardroom. Opportunities are lost and the talent around the table remains unused. In this podcast, Jim discussed going beyond just governance and the art of talking about what really matters.

Some of the key takeaways of the conversation included:

“Boards spend their time on three things”

The discussions of boards can be grouped into three categories: updates, decisions, and the future. Jim describes updates as looking back at what has already been done, decisions as making the strategic decisions for the organisation and future, as looking for opportunities to grow.

“Spend most of their time playing defence”

From these three categories, boards spend 80% of their time on updates. This means that boards spend most of their time looking back at what they’ve already decided and, in the word of Jim, “playing defence.” This has come about from a combination of factors such as legislation and other external contributors. But the result is the same; boards are spending more and more time defending than focusing on “offense” and looking for opportunities to grow.

“Taking full advantage of all the expertise”

Boards have the talent with their members to be successful in growing their firms, but it falls to the Chair to create an environment in which this talent is leveraged for the value creation process. This can be achieved by creating a safe space where board members feel comfortable having critical conversations in the boardroom rather than in the hallway after the meeting.

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