Non-executive board members face many challenges. Sometimes it’s easy to stay on the sidelines and not challenge established thinking. After all, some CEOs dislike challenges and have developed a range of often subtle methods to avoid them.
In this fascinating webinar, Vivian Woodell gives ten examples of these methods and offers excellent tips on how directors can ensure the critical topics are never sidelined at board meetings.
The 10 things CEOs do to avoid tough questions are:
1: Distraction – distract the directors with other ‘important matters’.
2: Divide and rule – bring up a topic you know will get the board arguing about. If the board is divided into factions, they will spend their emotional energy focusing on the opposing faction and not the issues.
3: Bring up’ fascinating subjects’ – bring up a possible future direction the company can go in and watch as the board members compete with each other to come up with fantastic future strategies.
4: Flattery – it will get you everywhere.
5: Arrange an ambush – but rescue the director, and they become a grateful supplicant.
6: Draw a line – suggest the non-executive director shouldn’t meddle in ‘management issues’.
7: Announce a review – suggest a governance review should take place and distract the board.
8: Bring up a favourite – move the focus of the board meeting to a director’s favourite subject.
9: Announce a restructure – suggest a business restructuring (that may never take place).
10: Manage the agenda – squeeze out the schedule to ensure the troublesome topic doesn’t get examined.
Vivian Woodell is the chief executive of the Phone Co-op Foundation for Co-operative Innovation.
The foundation’s work is focused on strategic initiatives to facilitate the formation and expansion of co-operatives.