Purpose Driven Boards

The debris that has been left behind post the global 2008 crises is still fresh in our minds; not just the enormity and scale of destruction it left in its wake but also the unbridled greed that fueled this catastrophic event.  Off late we seem to be witnessing behaviourial patterns with some marquee silicon valley names exhibiting similar symptoms. This brings into sharp focus the role (or absence) of Board nominees, their conduct and their loyalties.

As Trustees, Boards need to exhibit a strong sense of purpose in creating enduring institutions that continuously excel in developing long term value through sustainable business decisions. It is this absence of focus on extending longevity of enterprises the principal reason for the fall in governance standards.

Instead what we witness more often than not is the institutionalised culture of the “capitalist cabal” that has left its wake serious fractures in the governance landscape.  It would appear that there is no place left for constructive criticism and group think. No one at the Board wishes to be seen as “rocking the boat”, that leads to the dangerous situation of “conspiracy of silence”.

As Lord Myners observed that Boards have become a defining post for the “Great and the Good people” – are we consciously promoting a culture of weak governance by using the ramparts of the institutional governance structure as an “ordinary parking bay”.

If proactive, corrective steps are not unleashed in a collective manner, we may well be on course to see the diminishing influence of this last bastion of corporate governance. It is time for some serious, audacious and courageous thinking to wrest back TRUST control.

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