It’s a real honour to have joined the IoD as Chief Executive and I am looking forward to the challenges and opportunities ahead. The organisation has a wonderfully impactful membership and I would like to thank those of you who have already been in touch to express your welcome, your support, and to share your insights of how I can help lead the IoD into the next phase of its development.
This edition of BoardRoom kicks off our second ‘What Matters’ theme for the year – board dynamics. In these volatile and uncertain times, our businesses and our communities need good governance more than ever. The New Zealand governance community has an essential leadership role to play in creating real and lasting value. Effective board dynamics are an integral part of value creation.
Having previously worked at New Zealand Rugby for some years, I am interested in the connection between team cohesion and team performance that so often plays out in sport. And while sporting analogies are often over used in the New Zealand business context, what is not often fully recognised or understood is governance is in fact a team sport.
That doesn’t mean that as a team we all must agree, in fact quite the opposite. However, while we approach the boardroom table as individual players, it is when the entire team comes together that the true benefits and success of effective governance can be unlocked. Ehara taku toa i te toa takitahi, engari he toa takimano – My strength is not that of an individual but that of the collective.
The 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer reports that “trust is in a crisis around the world”. The percentage of respondents who rate boards of directors as extremely or very credible has declined 10 points to only 35%. CEOs don’t fare much better, with a reduction of 12 points to 37%; an interesting challenge for those of us in leadership roles.
Integral to board dynamics and integral to rebuilding trust is ensuring strong ethical foundations and culture. Like all culture creation we know this is clearly a governance leadership issue that starts from the top.
One of the stand-out speakers at our recent IoD Leadership Conference was UK economist, John Kay, who challenged us to get back to asking questions about what the real purpose of business is, and posed that it should not be a competitive pursuit of individual achievement or ambition. He noted “we have been too long in the hands of people who see leadership as a prize, and not a responsibility.”
Thank you for the opportunity to serve and support you as you take on the responsibility to lead New Zealand through the challenges ahead.