Every Leader of the Opposition in a parliamentary democracy should keep a copy of The Serenity Prayer on their desk: “Grant me – Serenity, to accept the things I cannot change; Courage, to change the things I can; and Wisdom, to know the difference.” The past is one thing none of us can change: it’s happened. OfContinue reading “What’s the Plan, New Zealand? Three strategic questions we need to ask”
Author Archives: westlakenz
The Wisdom of Wimbledon: Covered Are We
After the SARS outbreak of 2003, someone on the board of the All-England Club (or, more correctly, the All-England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club), which runs the annual Wimbledon Tournament, asked exactly the right question: ‘What if …’ ‘What if we had another event like SARS and had to cancel?’ As a result, the ClubContinue reading “The Wisdom of Wimbledon: Covered Are We”
Chairing in the Time of Physical Separation* – Six Tips for Chairing Remote Board Meetings
Chairing a board meeting is hard work and you feel tired at the end of it, right? I’m the same. It probably means you’re doing your job properly – actually your three jobs as chair: First, you’re managing the process of the meeting. To most people, this is your main role. Second, you’re still aContinue reading “Chairing in the Time of Physical Separation* – Six Tips for Chairing Remote Board Meetings”
The three things we talk about in Board-alone time, and two that we don’t
Some chairs tell me they don’t believe in board-alone time because it shows a lack of trust in the CEO. Others use it ‘as needed,’ if the chair or a board member calls for it. I don’t agree with the former, and I’ll explain why, but I can easily understand how the latter approach, ‘asContinue reading “The three things we talk about in Board-alone time, and two that we don’t”
Radio New Zealand and the Ansoff Matrix
Many people better qualified than me have taken to the ramparts to protest this loss of New Zealand’s only serious music channel and I imagine some Ministers are receiving a lot of feedback. But I do have many years of experience sitting in boardrooms, asking hard questions and formulating corporate strategies. So I’ve taken aContinue reading “Radio New Zealand and the Ansoff Matrix”
Six Steps to More Meaningful Minutes
Six Steps to More Meaningful Minutes
As I write, I’ve just finished reviewing the draft minutes for a board meeting we held last week.
Why do many chairs and directors see this as largely a chore – and do they give the minutes the attention they really need? Are they ensuring that the minutes reflect accurately the decisions the board took, and the tone of the meeting; or do they spend their energy – and feel triumphant – uncovering the trivial typo or incorrect use of punctuation (we all know one of those, don’t we)?
Where was Boeing’s Board of Directors?
I’ve just returned from a few weeks’ leave and one of the first stories to catch my eye related to the departure of Boeing’s CEO, Dennis Muilenberg, following the company’s inept handling of the aftermath of two fatal 737-Max crashes that killed a total of 346 people.
How formal should our board meetings be?
‘The best answer I had once from a more experienced friend was, ‘As informal as possible – but no more so.’ In other words, let’s keep the formalities to a minimum that allow us to do what what we’re here for, to make the decisions that only the board can make – usually the most important and tricky decisions the organisation faces. You want to give yourself the best chance’
The Five Roles of the Chair
Let’s talk about the Five Main Roles of the board chair.
Until you step into the chair’s role, you probably won’t appreciate the full range of what you’ll be called on to do.
How it all began
‘Hello Mr Westlake,’ said the voice on the phone. ‘I know you don’t have the time to be a director … but we we’re wondering whether you’d consider being the chairman.’