Certificate in Creating an Effective Board

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The role of boards, and the directors who sit on them, has never been in sharper focus. Across the world, daily stories appear in the media about how companies have failed, and the value destruction which they have left in their wake. The workshop explores how to create an effective board, with effective directors, and how it will lead to an improvement in the organisation’s overall performance.

Key business benefits

  • Improve the organisations’ overall effectiveness;
  • Improve your own individual effectiveness as a director;
  • Optimise decision-making capability, avoiding the mistakes;
  • Build a governance culture as an underpin for valuecreation;
  • Deepen your relationship with your stakeholders.

Skills Acquired

  • Learn to be a better team-player and to exhibit appropriate behaviours;
  • Develop the ability to spot the red flags which are going to impair board effectiveness;
  • Become a better leader in the boardroom, and avoid being a spectator.

Learning objectives

  • Understand how governance is a business-critical function;
  • Appreciate the importance of the board to the organisation’s health and success;
  • Develop a greater understanding of board teamwork and dynamics;
  • Recognise the features of a performing board;
  • Understand what changes you need to make to ‘close the performance gap’.

Day 1

Module 1: Boards as a central feature of best practice governance

  • The purpose of a board;
  • The purpose of an organisation;
  • The business case for corporate governance;
  • The board’s role in delivering business benefit.

Module 2: The board’s role of making high-quality decisions

  • What high-quality decision-making looks like;
  • The three main forms of decision-making delegation: - The role of committees; - Delegating to the management team; - Subsidiaries and Special Purpose Vehicles.

Module 3: Improving the quality of decision-making

  • Board support structures;
  • MI – Management Intel and Market Intel;
  • Quality of board information;
  • Lag and lead KPIs;
  • Optimising decision making – avoiding the mistakes.

Module 4: Companies don’t fail, boards do

  • Board roles and relationships;
  • Tone from the top;
  • Culture, values and behaviours;
  • Ethical leadership.

Day 2:

Module 1: Strategy and risk

  • Role of the board in formulation and oversight of strategy;
  • Optimising strategic delivery;
  • Strategy and risk appetite;
  • Internal control, audit and assurance.

Module 2: Director effectiveness and board effectiveness

  • Director selection;
  • Director competencies – getting the best team into place;
  • Director attributes – knowledge, skills, experience;
  • Director induction, development and succession planning;
  • Director remuneration rules and disclosure.

Module 3: Strategies for improving board effectiveness

  • What a good board doesn’t look like!
  • Board performance;
  • Board dilemmas;
  • Board behaviors;
  • Board evaluation as an assurance mechanism.

Module 4: The twelve steps to a performing board

  • Situational awareness;
  • Operational effectiveness;
  • Reflective mindfulness;
  • Building high performance organisations;
  • Case Studies.

Seamus Gillen

Governance Audit, Training and Leadership

Seamus is a an experienced and highly-knowledgeable governance adviser with executive management experience gained in senior roles.

Seamus was formerly Policy Director at the UK Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (ICSA), where he authored ICSA’s 2010 guidance on ‘Boardroom Behaviours’, and led the working group which produced the UK Regulator’s 2011 Guidance on Boardroom Effectiveness. He also led the working group which produced Enhancing Stewardship Dialogue, a guide to improving communications between companies and institutional investors, and was responsible for the Financial Times/ICSA Boardroom. Bellwether, the ICSA Excellence in Governance Awards, and for a range of initiatives relating to the NHS and not-for-profit sectors. He oversaw the production of ICSA’s technical output, including its best practice Guidance Notes on boards and directors, relating to areas such as ‘Director induction’, ‘Joining the right board’, ‘Nonexecutive director appointments’, ‘Matters reserved for the board’, ‘Committee terms of reference’, and ‘Care, skill and diligence’. 

Previously, Seamus was the Group Company Secretary and Director of Regulation at Anglian Water (later AWG) PLC, advising the board on regulatory, governance, environmental, operational and corporate issues; and Head of Public Policy and Regulation at O2 plc, where he had a similar role. He was originally a senior policy adviser in the UK government, and was Private Secretary to John Gummer MP, Secretary of State for the Environment, and John Prescott MP, Deputy Prime Minister. He has also served as an adviser to the French Government.

Seamus has a BA (Hons) in Business Studies and French, a Masters Degree in Business Administration from Henley Management College, and is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators. Seamus has been at the forefront of thinking and practice on governance issues, in the UK and internationally – he has written numerous articles and speaks at conferences.  He is currently writing a book on bard effectiveness.

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