NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--2016 marks a critical turning point for businesses. From persistent and increasing instances of cyberattacks and data breaches to a newly-appointed President-elect and political power in Washington, the challenges and opportunities for companies have never been greater.
Faced with these changes, board members and directors tasked with governing companies will find themselves held increasingly accountable for more than just company performance. In 2017, boards will have to reevaluate not just how they approach issues externally, but also their internal composition and skillsets in order to position themselves for success.
Brian Stafford, CEO of Diligent Corporation, the leading provider of board collaboration solutions to more than 4,700 organizations and 140,000 users, is highly attune to what it means to be an effective board member in today’s complex business landscape. Below are his predictions for the issues and trends that will impact boards in 2017.
Prediction 1: Greater Accountability Calls for Improved Collaboration
Beyond company financials, the board now answers questions to security, brand reputation, executive oversight and more. As the level of accountability grows, there will need to be a redistributed line between the board and executive management. “Board members must have more transparency, authority and collaboration to advise and make key decisions in tandem with company decision makers. This new redistribution will also guide how the board interacts with activist investors, shareholders and each other,” said Stafford.
Prediction 2: Cyber Moves to the Top of the Agenda
Cyber threats are perhaps the single biggest risk to enterprises today and many are not ready for battle. “In 2017, boards will need to strongly consider adding individuals with CIO/CISO experience. In addition, boards will need to make it a priority to enhance public-private partnerships and utilize third party providers to leverage the cumulative cyber-knowledge of its whole network. This will help solve fundamental problems like a lax security culture, knowing where data is located and how regulations will impact the company,” said Stafford.
Prediction 3: The 2017 Political Climate Will Impact Regulations
Donald Trump's election will bring about a variety of changes to foreign policy, domestic practices and corporate governance. Key legislations could be at risk such as a potential dismantle of Dodd-Frank and labor changes with immigration reform. “Board members will need to keep an even closer eye on how corporate governance changes, including new requirements for board oversight as well as how the corporate secretary role will change,” said Stafford.
Prediction 4: Board Refreshment is a Must Have in the New Year
Boards have often been criticized for lacking in diversity and modern skillsets needed to compete in today’s fast-paced and technology-driven business world. “Leading boards in the New Year will need to evolve, focusing on three standout factors - more women as directors; members with varied skill sets (such as finance, regulation, security); and an unwavering commitment to technological adoption in the boardroom, and across the enterprise,” said Stafford.
Prediction 5: Board Evaluation Benchmarks Will Evolve
As the responsibility of boards grows, so too will the evaluations of their performance. Board members will be measured on more than just financial performance, but also by their effectiveness, diligence, ethical quotient (EQ) and contribution to the corporate brand. “This will require individual board members to take a hard look at how they conduct business, evaluate the security of their digital communications (both personal and professional), and adopt modern best practices designed to protect the integrity of sensitive information, and ultimately, the corporate brand,” said Stafford.
Diligent is the leading provider of secure corporate governance and collaboration solutions for boards and senior executives. Over 4,700 clients in more than 70 countries and on all seven continents rely on Diligent to provide secure, intuitive access to their most time-sensitive and confidential information, ultimately helping them make better decisions. The Diligent Boards (formerly Diligent Boardbooks) solution speeds and simplifies how board materials are produced, delivered and collaborated on via any device, removing the security concerns of doing this by courier, email and file sharing. Visit www.diligent.com or follow us on Twitter @diligentHQ to learn more.