Where was the Board?
I know many of you do not stay awake worrying about what your company board is up to but it is definitely important if you think about it some more. No surprise that boards are talking alot about the economy and challenging times in this meltdown. However, a survey by Eisner LLP asked over 100 board members what they were worrying about besides the bottom line.
At the top of the list was regulatory compliance — 63% chose this worry to keep them awake. Second on the list was reputational risk. With all the corporate reputation damage evident today (see more on Weber Shandwick’s stumble rate), it makes sense that board members would be asking how vulnerable their company reputations are as well as their very own. One of the shifts I like to mention when I talk about reputation trends is how board members have to worry extensively today about how their reputations are impacted by reputational missteps and disasters. There are many companies that come to mind in the past two years where it was a legitimate question to ask who was on the board and what were they thinking (or not thinking). As the article in CFO.com agrees, “Boards are concerned about their companies’ reputations, but also their own reputations,” says Steven Kreit, co-author of the study. “More and more you see that when something happens at a company, people are saying, ‘Where was the board?'” Great question. In fact, I typed “Where was the board?” into Google just now and got nearly 7 million hits. Wow. A good question to be asking.