Making Board better decisions
Boards always run the risk of making decisions that could backfire on them. Wrong decisions can severely damage the reputation of the organisation and/or affect the long-term sustainability of the organisations. With the speed at which information travels, all leaders live in a glass bowl and therefore mistakes may very well be made in the glaring eye of the public.
As the complexity increases, deeper application of mind is needed to ensure the best possible route is taken. This often means having to choose the lesser of evils. It is therefore important that Boards are able to demonstrate that they can pass the ‘reasonable man’ test in the context of their strategic role. Boards should consider using an instrument, the equivalent of a checklist that forces them to consider all angles when making decisions with significant implications. Some of the areas that should be considered include:
· Whether it is an informed decision.
· What will the impact on sustainability be?
· Which stakeholders may be affected?
· Which governance principles should be considered?
· Are there ethical implications that should be considered?
· Are there issues that could lead to reputational damage?
This of course means that everyone on the Board must apply their minds and not allow a situation where a few dominant voices determine the outcome, or where some give scant attention to the issue on the table and just go with the majority.
Where the stakes are high, the Board may need to consider a facilitated session to help them work through the process. An independent facilitator, who has no vested interest in the outcome of the decision, could help the Board work through all the important questions that should be asked and debated before a conclusion is reached.