Shifting Focus: We not me & apples to barrels

Shifting Focus: We not me & apples to barrels

Certificate Dynamics at Board Level - Closing date for applications: 18 May

Certificate Dynamics at Board Level –
Closing date for applications: 18 May

A flurry of media activity and speculation is unleashed as Hillary Clinton formally announces her candidacy for the USA Presidential election. The anxiety and excitement of the prospect of a woman at the head a Nation State mirrors some of the issues faced in the corporate world. In addition, the role of the leader comes under scrutiny as we wrestle with the treatment of CEOs and Presidents when things go wrong in companies and countries.

London newspaper, City AM (14 April 2015) quotes the PwC consultancy Strategy&, stating, ‘when firms perform poorly and fire the chief executive, the uncertainty unleashed by the change at the top can lead to a vicious cycle of bad performance and sackings‘.

In direct contrast to this the new Deputy Chair of the Financial Reporting Council, Gay Huey Evans (London Evening Standard 10 April 2015) says, ‘Leadership comes from the very top. If someone does something wrong, they should be fired‘.  She goes on to say, in relation to the City of London that, ‘The culture got rotten and there are still rotten apples in the barrel – and we have to get rid of them‘.

So what is a board to do when faced with things going wrong or poor corporate performance?  Focus on the rotten apples or the barrel?

The central issues of accountability and authority within a system we believe are best understood by focusing on the dynamics at play. The way that a Board functions sets the tone for the whole organisation. The Tavistock Institute approach focuses primarily on the group as the unit of analysis, not the individual without its context.  Understanding the complexity of role, relationships and distribution of authority and power relations is vital to the success of a CEO.  Equally, a Chairman of a Board benefits from the ability to work with the dynamics in the Board so that the CEO does not become the sole focus of accountability for poor performance. The Certificate in Dynamics at Board Level, (our modular course running from June to October 2015) offers the opportunity to study the theories / concepts and experience and explore the dynamics that occur in the boardroom and those between the Board and the organisation, in real-time.

Jayne-Anne Gadhia, CEO of Virgin Money says in the run up the UK Elections that she is looking for a ‘leader who will represent the many – not the few – in a tolerant, open and strong United Kingdom‘. Unlike her USA counterparts, there is no Woman at the Top to choose from at the moment.

Improving corporate governance and our political systems equally benefit from a deeper appreciation of the dynamics of decision-making bodies. As Gay Huey Evans says, ‘I don’t just mean a balance of gender but of background and experience, geography and ethnicity. This leads to better board performance, engagement and innovation and prevents group think‘.

Applications for the Certificate Dynamics at Board Level 2015 cohort close 18 May.  Contact Rachel Kelly, Professional Development Co-ordinator, for a brochure and application form.

Dr Leslie Brissett and Dr Mannie Sher
Co-Directors: Dynamics at Board Level

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