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How to improve your leadership governance as a public company.

Aligning your leadership governance principles.

CEOs, Chairpersons and any other public company leadership positions are all highly specialised roles whose specific function varies from business to business. That’s why it can be hard to find consistent best practices to align your leadership principles.

While the Chairperson and Board usually set broad leadership governance policies, it’s typically the CEO and other executives who have an instrumental role in implementing and refining such governance frameworks. 

Here are the insights from the community combined with our experience supporting public companies that you can use to gauge your own leadership governance.

Leadership governance cohort data.

We're currently sourcing and calculating this cohort data and will update this as soon as enough is available.

Interpreting your leadership governance score.

41-50. Leading leadership governance

Your practices and perception are exemplary, closely aligning with the best in leadership governance. Keep championing these standards!

31-40. Strong leadership governance

You're doing well and have a solid foundation. A few tweaks here and there, and you'll be at the top. Let's discover those areas together.

21-30. Emerging leadership governance

Every journey has its milestones. You've made some strides, and with targeted effort, you'll elevate your governance to the next level. We're here to guide you.

11-20. Foundational leadership governance

You've taken the initial steps, which is commendable. Now, let's build on that foundation and accelerate your governance journey. Together, we'll pave the way.

1-10. Initial leadership governance

Recognising the need for growth is the first step to greatness. The future is nothing but potential and improvement, and we're excited to explore it with you.

For the CEOs.

How well do you know your role as the CEO of the business?

It's your primary responsibility to manage and oversee the operations of the company, and it's essential to have a clear distinction between your role and other leadership positions to prevent an overlap in duties and avoid any potential conflicts. It allows you and every other leadership position to focus on their specific responsibilities more effectively.

How and when are you communicating with the board?

It's absolutely integral for effective leadership governance that you're in regular communication with your Chairperson to ensure there's strategic alignment between the company's operations and the board's oversight.

While you should be interacting with Non Executive Directors (NEDs) during board meetings, you should actually be limiting direct communication with them outside of these meetings. That should go directly through the Chairperson instead, who can decide to relay the message or facilitate a direct communication if needed.

The reason you follow this process is so you can concentrate on managing the business without unnecessary communications while also preventing any undue influence or misunderstandings. Your Chairperson is there to support you, lean on them.

How much are you leaning on your relationship with your Chairperson?

The role of the CEO can be a lonely one with a lot of responsibility on one set of shoulders. Given the specific leadership demands of the role, your Chairperson should be an ideal mentor given their broader experience and direct line to the Board, who can provide guidance, advice and perspective for you to excel in your role.

Even better, you can gauge your performance and gather feedback to better implement the strategic initiatives set out by the Board more frequently. If this is something you may have under-indexed in the past, it might be worth revisiting and just thinking about how much value you can get that applies directly to your responsibilities.

For the Chairpersons.

How well do you know your role as the Chairperson of the board?

Your primary responsibility is the management of the Board, and ensuring that the executive team of the business are well-supported and strategically aligned with the broader goals of the company. 

It’s important that you give your executive team space to manage the business with clear distinctions in your roles, to prevent overlaps and enable each leader to focus on their specific responsibilities. Some leaders might think Chairperson is a 'one step from retirement' type of role, but it's the complete opposite.

An effective Chairperson has a much greater time commitment than for a NED, even where the Chairperson is non-executive.

How smooth are board meetings and leadership communications?

Board meetings are important and that’s why it’s important to get the most out of them. Make sure your NEDs are fully prepared when going into them to contribute because it’s important they have views and are prepared to express them.

A well-run Board meeting shouldn’t run for more than two hours while providing an opportunity to resolve differences of opinion and align on strategic direction. Although it’s normal to prefer that everyone agrees, there’s always room for dissenting opinions.

Your NEDs should also communicate to you directly outside of Board meetings which you can relay to your CEO if necessary, as otherwise they should be left alone to run the business as their priority. 

How frequently are you checking in with the CEO and executive team?

The relationship between yourself and the CEO is often the most important in a company’s leadership as it’s critical for the effective operation of the business in all areas. Your role is to manage the Board, but it’s also to support the CEO, so they can feel comfortable focusing on managing the operational side of the business, without restriction.

Schedule a weekly chat with your executive team (it can be informal) just to catch up and see how they’re doing, if anything specific is doing well or is challenging, and if there’s anything you can do to help out. 

Curious about your leadership governance score?

If you're reading this article and wondering where these leadership governance scores are coming from, you can answer the questions directly here.

Otherwise, we're always keen to chat with you directly to know more about your business, understand the leadership hurdles you might be facing, and provide an honest insight into how and where we might be able to improve your governance processes.

No hard sell, no jargon, just a friendly conversation about you, your company, and how we can help. Book a discovery call here.

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