Risk Topics

on paneling


Tonight I moderated a panel of experts on the role of the board in setting strategy. By experts, I mean that the three panelists had between them some ten university degrees, and probably 75-90 working years' experience. By moderation, I mean I gamely tried to steer the conversation, but it amounted to little more than trying to keep up. I was taking notes the entire time, and have two pages of them.

The event was put on and attended by members of the Canadian Association of Management Consultants. I've retained the brief presentation that I gave (each slide in the deck is only a line or two, to which I spoke with examples and elaboration from the article we were discussing) and the questions I put to the panel. That's available here.

The audience was small, at only perhaps 12-15 people, but that group consisted of more senior management consultants, board directors, and other business leaders. The conversation was lively and seemed from the comments afterwards to go to most people's satisfaction. The premise of the article we discussed was that the complexity of a company's environment should dictate the role that the board plays, along with the sort of strategic issues the firm's wrangling with. Those in attendance seemed to believe that instead of attempting to fine tune the role of the board according to such ephemera, the board could do well to establish special committees and to restrict greater involvement in the affairs of the management team only where individuals on the board had specific skills otherwise lacking in the management team.

I had a ball.

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