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Boards must brace themselves for a tumultuous 2023

Updated: Apr 13, 2023

How should Boards Prepare for 2023 in the Face of Uncertainty?

In September, the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD), the most influential association for directors in the United States, issued a stern warning about the future of boards. Describing the environment as "ever more turbulent and unpredictable," the NACD highlighted challenges such as the ongoing pandemic, supply chain crises, and emerging digital trends that boards will need to navigate in the coming year.

However, amidst the concern, there is an opportunity for boards to approach these obstacles with a "glass-half-full" attitude and view them as invitations to adapt and evolve.

The NACD's report, titled "The Future of the American Board Report: A Framework for Governing Into the Future," offers recommendations for boards to prepare for the uncertainties of 2023. The report outlines a comprehensive ten-point framework that covers various aspects of governance, including purpose, accountability, objectivity, information and reporting, stakeholder partnerships, talent, culture, commitment, board refreshment, and board involvement. These points encourage businesses to critically reflect on their core purpose and consider the needs of their stakeholders in the current context. The report emphasizes the importance of proactive leadership, critical thinking, and global networking among directors to effectively navigate the changing landscape.

One notable aspect of the NACD's recommendations is the broad attitude towards governance. It highlights the need for boards to focus not only on shareholder earnings but also on the interests of employees, consumers, and the broader societal and political developments. This reflects the evolving expectations of businesses to consider their social and environmental responsibilities, taking into account factors such as the Ukraine conflict, supply chain disruptions, shifting societal values, and polarized politics. However, the relevance of these recommendations may vary depending on the company and industry context.

The NACD's framework also underscores a significant shift in the role of boards in organizational development. Boards are no longer seen as rubber-stamping bodies that simply endorse executive decisions. Instead, they are expected to actively participate in driving organizational success through independent thought and critical thinking. The NACD's framework further amplifies this shift, highlighting that boards have a broader responsibility and impact on the foundations of their organizations than previously imagined. This aligns with the growing focus on Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) considerations, which emphasize the importance of businesses' obligations to all stakeholders, not just shareholders.

In conclusion, as boards prepare for 2023, it is crucial to keep in mind the evolving landscape and the uncertainties ahead. Boards should approach these challenges with a proactive mindset and view them as opportunities to adapt and thrive. The NACD's framework provides a comprehensive guide for boards to consider various aspects of governance and align their purpose and strategy with the changing expectations of stakeholders and society at large. By embracing this broader perspective and actively engaging in critical thinking and proactive leadership, boards can effectively navigate the uncertain route ahead in 2023 and beyond.

Our Directors’ Institute- World council of Directors can help you accelerate your board journey by training you on your roles and responsibilities to be carried out in an efficient manner helping you to make a significant contribution to the board and raise corporate governance standards within the organization.

Our ESG Expert certification will help you to amplify your understanding of corporate governance in a detailed manner paving a way for you to become a globally recognized ESG leader.

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