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Is your Board Outward Looking

What is the key activity of a Board? If you are thinking Strategy; that’s an output, not an activity.

Be outward-looking for two things – opportunities and threats. In Risk Speak, this translates to consideration of:

  • #EmergingRisks – things on the horizon that can sink us; and
  • #StressTesting – potential hypotheticals that, again can sink us.

Then why is it that so many Board reports are padded with the state of play of the business (inwards looking). The Board has defined boundaries (#RiskAppetite) and a business plan – so Board reports should only contain exceptions.

It’s a bit like a ship captain too busy reading reports on how well the engine is working and the mess hall is served duck eggs for breakfast.

If you are a NED or a Board Member, let your first mate run the ship and only ask for exception reporting, freeing you up for outward-looking activities.

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