The Board Agenda Conundrum

by TK Kerstetter for The Board Blog, November 23th, 2010.

As we approach the holidays, many of us reflect on giving to others less fortunate than ourselves. Even with all the downturns and regulatory burdens placed on boards and companies throughout these last couple of years, most of us can be very thankful for both our standard of living and, hopefully, our health. Taking the extra step to give in a season where we’ve witnessed increased numbers of less fortunate people who are really struggling to make ends meet should be a vivid reminder about thankfulness to us all. Each of us can make a difference this season.

This opening paragraph didn’t have a lot to do with the blog topic that follows, but in these days just before Thanksgiving, it seemed like an apt message… but now, back to boardrooms and governance. I’ve spent the last couple of months participating in our industry peer exchanges where directors who sit on boards from various industries (such as insurance, manufacturing, healthcare, and media/entertainment) get together to receive updates from industry experts and then disperse to a boardroom to share their particular experiences with their peers. In these exchanges, directors discuss the challenges their companies face as they try and administer their board duties in what has become an increasingly stringent—yet ever more transparent—regulatory environment.

I must say that the media’s portrayal of corporate directors might be projected entirely different if they could participate in these exchanges and hear the passion and energy I have witnessed. I heard many comments on how board members just want to do the right thing and want to be recognized as valuable stewards of shareholders’ interests. (continue reading… )

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