How CEOs can work with an active board

Posted in Aktuellt, Board work / Styrelsearbete, Executive Coaching on August 10th, 2017 by admin

At companies of almost all sizes, across all sectors, boards are undergoing a profound transformation. Largely as a result of intensifying shareholder intolerance of mediocre or poor corporate performance, the ceremonial boards of the past are being replaced by active boards that are more demanding of managers and more intrusive in their affairs.

This change can be daunting and frustrating for CEOs. However, based on our experience of advising CEOs, operating as CEOs, and sitting on boards, we have found that executives can be effective in the new environment by revamping their interactions with their boards. It consists of four approaches.

Work with board members individually as well as in the group — and selectively seek their help. It’s remarkable how many CEOs focus mainly on formal boardroom relationships. Yet by investing the time in regular one-to-one informal interactions, a CEO will help address the new active board members’ sense of duty to get close to the business. Through a personal dialogue, the CEO can better enlist them in important initiatives and address issues before they become crises. In addition, by creating a personal bond with the individual directors, the CEO lessens the odds that they will undermine or blindside him.

It is especially important to create a bond with the lead director and/or the chair. As boards have become more active, the lead director and board chair hold the keys to setting productive agendas and managing issues with the total board or individual members. One of us served on an active board that included members who frequently threatened to derail agendas and process with counterproductive questions. The CEO quietly recruited the lead director and chair to restore order, which they did. As boards have become more active, the lead director and board chair hold the keys to setting productive agendas and managing issues with the total board or individual members.

CEOs should consider recruiting one board member as an informal advisor. This must be done with great care and an ear for political nuances. For example, as one CEO we know discovered, a prospective board advisor actually had his eye on the CEO role for himself — hardly the right confidant! By using already-scheduled one-on-ones to assess board members for this advisory role, the CEO can better identify an appropriate advisory board member. This board member can be of great value as a sounding board and a guide to working effectively with the rest of the board.

Communicate less formally, more intensively, more often. Many CEOs and their teams still deliver traditional 80-slide PowerPoint summary presentations at board meetings. But given that today’s boards increasingly want a substantive dialogue, we advise replacing the presentation with a thoughtful, verbal review and Q&A around critical updates, challenges, and opportunities. (Further background can be provided in brief pre-reading material.)

This will show that the CEO is using his or her face-to-face time with the board for serious discussion. It will focus board activism on topics where the CEO will benefit from directors’ insight and counsel. And by taking the lead in inviting the board to engage on business-critical matters, the CEO can better manage the process and avoid one of the biggest downsides of the active board: disruptive interference by board members in business operations.

It may seem obvious that CEOs should communicate with board members regularly and substantively between board meetings. But in reality, CEOs often communicate mainly when there is a problem. Many also have difficulty regularly addressing a balanced mix of important topics.

One very effective approach to this issue is regular CEO letters to the board. The management of this letter should be delegated to a top lieutenant such as the head of communications or the COO. A monthly rhythm has proven effective with many boards. To assure balanced, relevant content, the letter should routinely address a fixed set of regular topics (e.g., business-environment trends, business updates, people/talent news, and early warnings of potential upside and downside developments).

Expose Level 3 and 4 managers to the board. While boards in the past were typically focused on CEO succession planning and the talent among the CEO’s direct reports, active boards are also very interested in the levels below. They rightly see these executives as the future leaders and the operational leaders of today who should be driving performance. Active board members will therefore seek to get to know them.

Some CEOs feel this is overly intrusive or worry that the lower-level executives are not ready for board exposure. But, in fact, it’s positive to have board members engaging with deeper levels of talent. They learn more about the business and the next generation of the company’s leaders. Board members can also give the CEO valuable feedback about the people they meet and their view of the company’s overall bench strength. And for the executives, the right kind of exposure to board members is a great development opportunity.

The CEO should take the lead with the board in driving the engagement process, which will allow him or her to have greater influence over it. She can select the highest potential individuals for the interactions and organize the interactions so that they are most productive — for example, by holding them as one-to-ones over a breakfast or dinner. She can also brief the executives in advance on the style of the board member and potential question areas and brief the board members on the executives they will meet.

Handle strategic planning… strategically. Older-style boards typically become involved only at the end of the strategic-planning process — typically in a board meeting devoted to review and approval of the strategy. By contrast, active boards often push to be involved from the start because the strategy is so important to the company’s performance.

The notion of involving the board in strategic planning can make CEOs anxious and defensive. They fear that the board may undermine the planning process due to insufficient knowledge about the business. They also worry that board involvement in strategic planning will be the thin edge of a wedge and lead to board interference in day-to-day management of the company.

The key to navigating this challenge is to keep strategic planning in the hands of management but to invite the board to provide advice and feedback from the beginning. One good way to do this is to involve the board early in deciding on the right, big-picture, strategic direction for the company, without getting into the details. The CEO and her team can develop and present to the board several options to the board, explaining why each has merit. Then the executives can solicit board input on each but not ask for a vote. In this way, the CEO and her team can gain valuable board perspective that will strengthen all the choices that are developed and obtain early board buy-in for both the options and the ultimate strategic plan that’s chosen.

The CEO can then provide periodic updates on the strategic-planning process through letters to the board and board meetings. This allows the board to stay engaged and provide input but keeps the control over the actual process with the executive team, where it belongs.

Active boards are a corporate reality. How to work with them effectively should be one of the most important items on the CEO agenda. As we have outlined, the CEO has an opportunity not only to manage this new relationship but also to make the active board an asset in building long-term, high performance of the company. (Harvard Business Review)
Authors: Ken Banta and Stephen D.Garrow

How anxiety affects CEO decision making

Posted in Aktuellt, Board work / Styrelsearbete, Leadership / Ledarskap on June 29th, 2017 by admin

While top executives tend to be thought of as a confident bunch, they are no less susceptible to anxiety than the rest of us. After all, they routinely have to make important decisions, often under conditions of uncertainty, that affect countless people, organizations, and industries.

It is less clear, though, what this anxiety means for how they do their jobs. Psychology research has shown that anxiety influences decision making—for example, job anxiety can cause people to fixate on potential threats, thus missing big opportunities. This made us wonder whether boards or employees should be worried about anxiety influencing their CEO’s strategic decision making in ways that might hold back their firm.

We interviewed 84 CEOs and other top executives of major corporations to find out. They described some of the toughest decisions they had faced in their roles. Overall we collected data on 174 big decisions, such as those relating to acquisitions, major product launches, new foreign market entries, and complex corporate restructurings. We analyzed transcripts to assess whether executives’ language focused on opportunities or threats. Then we surveyed the people who knew them best – their spouses (mostly wives, but a few husbands), close friends and family, and their chief lieutenants (COOs, general counsels, etc.) – to get more information about their personal lives and how they handled tough decisions. We combined this with archival data about their businesses, competitors, and industries. Finally, we conducted a follow-up survey of employees at the lower levels of these organizations to see how their anxiety levels compared to top executives.

We found that more-anxious leaders (those that were described as experiencing job anxiety “to some extent,” “to a considerable extent,” or “to a great extent”) took fewer strategic risks than their less anxious peers in order to avoid potential losses. Job anxiety reduced the attractiveness of big strategic bets for the company, despite their potential to drive large gains.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as excessive risks can lead companies into ruin. But smart risks are often key to driving corporate growth, and our results suggest that anxious executives may, in their overriding desire to avoid threats, miss out on high-upside strategic opportunities and thus limit growth.

However, context matters. Researchers have shown that executives facing loss contexts (e.g., when the company has recently underperformed relative to peers) are more inclined to make big strategic bets that, if successful, can undo the loss. Conversely, executives facing gain contexts (e.g., when the company has recently performed better than its peers) eschew risky bets in favor of safer alternatives that offer more predictable, albeit lower upside, returns.

This suggests that while anxiety may lead executives to avoid risky strategic initiatives, such tendencies may be counteracted when the executive is facing a loss context that calls for bold action. We found that job anxiety exerts a weaker effect on risk-taking in loss contexts, while gain contexts exacerbate anxious executives’ risk-reducing tendencies.

For example, consider the case of a tech CEO in our sample who was described as experiencing “a considerable extent” of job anxiety by his close friends and family. This CEO was facing an important strategic decision for his firm regarding future growth, and made the decision to sell the firm to a larger rival rather than pursue the potentially much higher upside of independent growth as a standalone business.

Already naturally inclined to play it safe, anxious executives are especially careful not to upset the apple cart when things are going well. While a conservative bias might sound reasonable, or even admirable, markets might very well see this as a serious threat to shareholder interests if it causes a firm to miss out on promising opportunities that would propel growth.

Our results also showed that anxiety drives some executives to stack the deck. Prior research has shown that one of the ways anxious individuals deal with their worries is to lean on trusted others for support and protection, a phenomenon known as “social buffering.” Similarly, we found that anxious executives are more likely to staff their teams with loyal subordinates whom they know and trust. This is especially true in loss contexts, where threats loom large. Anxious executives are particularly driven to close ranks within their teams and stack their inner decision-making circle with loyalists. This effect disappears in gain contexts where anxious executives are presumably less compelled to create a protective shield against perceived threats.

The main takeaway is that top executives are influenced by job anxiety just like the rest of us, but because the impact of their biases can have serious downstream consequences for thousands of employees, shareholders, and stakeholders, leaders should ask:

Maybe the paranoid are more likely to survive, but at what cost? Intel CEO Andy Grove famously noted that paranoia can be a good thing for executives when it compels them to keep a close eye on their environment. Our results suggest, however, that overly anxious (and perhaps paranoid) executives may be less willing to make the big strategic bets that could catapult the company to long-term success. Serious consideration of both potential upside and downside outcomes is necessary for forming a clear-eyed assessment of firm strategy, but anxiety may cause executives to become myopic to such balanced views.

Who is asking the tough questions? One can hardly fault anxious executives for relying upon subordinates that they trust. But this could come with drawbacks if a sense of loyalty prevents subordinates from asking difficult questions or otherwise engaging in healthy debate with leaders. Executives are well-advised to put together teams that are nevertheless unafraid to challenge them when the situation calls for it.

What can boards do? Boards may not have an easy way to assess anxiety in executives, but they should realize that anxiousness plays a meaningful role in the fortunes of their firms. For instance, an anxious executive’s risk-averse outlook may run counter to the board’s (or shareholder’s) vision for bold strategies.

Although a CEO is unlikely to report to their board that they are feeling anxious about their job, boards can be proactive in looking for signs of stress that may bias executive decision-making, perhaps through informal conversations with executives’ close colleagues. They can also offer social support and encouragement to help mute some of the more dysfunctional effects of executive job anxiety. And to avoid anxious leaders surrounding themselves with loyalists, board members can protect the firm by requiring CEOs to present multiple strategic options before making big decisions, or by asking individuals other than the CEO to present opposing options.

Source: Harvard Business Review, July 19, 2016
Authors:Mike Mannor, Adam WowakViva, Ona BartkusLuis and R. Gomez-Mejia

Slutfakturerat för styrelearvodet!

Posted in Aktuellt, Board work / Styrelsearbete on June 26th, 2017 by admin

Läs mer här!

Slutfakturerat för börsens styrelseproffs

Posted in Aktuellt, Board work / Styrelsearbete on June 22nd, 2017 by admin

En dom från Högsta förvaltningsdomstolen i tisdags slår fast att styrelseproffs inte längre ska kunna fakturera styrelsearvodet via egna bolag. Det kommer leda till att styrelserummen tappar tungviktare, tror experterna.

Läs mer här.

Källa:, 22 juni 2017

The CEO’s role in leading transformation

Posted in Aktuellt, Board work / Styrelsearbete, Executive Coaching, Executive Team / Ledningsgruppsarbete, Leadership / Ledarskap on June 9th, 2017 by admin

The CEO helps a transformation succeed by communicating its significance, modeling the desired changes, building a strong top team, and getting personally involved.

In today’s business environment, companies cannot settle for incremental improvement; they must periodically undergo performance transformations to get, and stay, on top. But in the volumes of pages on how to go about implementing a transformation, surprisingly little addresses the role of one important person. What exactly should the CEO be doing, and how different is this role from that of the executive team or the initiative’s sponsors?

Based on a series of interviews we have conducted with nearly a dozen executives over the last couple of years—as well as our own experience working with companies—we believe there is no single model for success. Moreover, the exact nature of the CEO’s role will be influenced by the magnitude, urgency, and nature of the transformation; the capabilities and failings of the organization; and the personal style of the leader.

Despite these variations, our experience with scores of major transformation efforts, combined with research we have undertaken over the past decade, suggests that four key functions collectively define a successful role for the CEO in a transformation:

Making the transformation meaningful. People will go to extraordinary lengths for causes they believe in, and a powerful transformation story will create and reinforce their commitment. The ultimate impact of the story depends on the CEO’s willingness to make the transformation personal, to engage others openly, and to spotlight successes as they emerge.
Role-modeling desired mind-sets and behavior. Successful CEOs typically embark on their own personal transformation journey. Their actions encourage employees to support and practice the new types of behavior.
Building a strong and committed top team. To harness the transformative power of the top team, CEOs must make tough decisions about who has the ability and motivation to make the journey.
Relentlessly pursuing impact. There is no substitute for CEOs rolling up their sleeves and getting personally involved when significant financial and symbolic value is at stake.
Everyone has a role to play in a performance transformation. The role of CEOs is unique in that they stand at the top of the pyramid and all the other members of the organization take cues from them. CEOs who give only lip service to a transformation will find everyone else doing the same. Those who fail to model the desired mind-sets and behavior or who opt out of vital initiatives risk seeing the transformation lose focus. Only the boss of all bosses can ensure that the right people spend the right amount of time driving the necessary changes.

Making the transformation meaningful
Transformations require extraordinary energy: employees must fundamentally rethink and reshape the business while continuing to run it day to day. Where does this energy come from? A powerful transformation story helps employees believe in the effort by answering their big questions, which can range from how the transformation will affect the company down to how it will affect them. The story’s ultimate impact will depend on not just having compelling answers to these questions but also the CEO’s willingness and ability to make things personal, to engage others openly, and to spotlight successes as they emerge.

Adopt a personal approach
CEOs who take time to personalize the story of the transformation can unlock significantly more energy for it than those who dutifully present the PowerPoint slides that their working teams created for them. Personalizing the story forces CEOs to consider and share with others the answers to such questions as “Why are we changing?”; “How will we get there?”; and “How does this relate to me?”

Some leaders include experiences and anecdotes from their own lives to underline their determination and belief—and to demonstrate that obstacles can be overcome. Klaus Zumwinkel, the chairman and CEO of Deutsche Post, talked about his passion for mountain climbing, linking the experience of that sport and the effort it requires to the company’s transformation journey. John Hammergren, the CEO of McKesson, stressed that every employee was or would be a patient in the health care system and that this “larger purpose” made a difference. “Had we been in the ball-bearing business, I’m not sure it would have been as easy to personalize it,” he acknowledges.

Openly engage others
When a CEO’s version of the transformation story is clear, success comes from taking it to employees, encouraging debate about it, reinforcing it, and prompting people to infuse it with their own personal meaning. Most CEOs invest great effort in visibly and vocally presenting the transformation story. Julio Linares, the executive chairman of Telefónica de España, says the most important and hardest part of the transformation was “to convince people of the need for the program.”

Once the story is out, the CEO’s role becomes one of constant reinforcement. As P&G CEO Alan G. Lafley says, in “Leading change: An interview with the CEO of P&G,” “Excruciating repetition and clarity are important—employees have so many things going on in the operation of their daily business that they don’t always take the time to stop, think, and internalize.” Paolo Scaroni, who has led three public companies through various chapters of change, likes to find three or four strategic concepts that sum up the right direction for the company and then to “repeat, repeat, and repeat them throughout the organization.”

Reinforcement should come from outside as well. Passera notes, “If everyone keeps reading in the newspapers that the business is still a poor performer, not contributing to society, or is letting the country down, people will not believe you.”

Spotlight success
As the company’s transformation progresses, a powerful way to reinforce the story is to spotlight the successes. Sharing such stories helps crystallize the meaning of the transformation and gives people confidence that it will actually work. Murthy of Infosys describes how high-performing teams were invited to make presentations to larger audiences drawn from across the company, “to show other people that we value such behavior.”

Ravi Kant, the managing director of the integrated Indian auto business Tata Motors, deliberately identified people who would serve as examples to others. In “Leading change: An interview with the managing director of Tata Motors,” he talks about how he highlighted the achievements of one young man whose success on a risky project and subsequent promotion showed colleagues that talented and determined people can rise through the hierarchy.

Emphasizing the positive, behavioral research shows, is especially important. In 1982, University of Wisconsin researchers who were conducting a study of the adult-learning process videotaped two bowling teams during several games. The members of each team then studied their efforts on video to improve their skills. But the two videos had been edited differently. One team received a video showing only its mistakes; the other team’s video, by contrast, showed only the good performances. After studying the videos, both teams improved their game, but the team that studied its successes improved its score twice as much as the one that studied its mistakes. Evidently, focusing on the errors can generate feelings of fatigue, blame, and resistance. Emphasizing what works well and discussing how to get more out of those strengths taps into creativity, passion, and the desire to succeed.

Role-modeling desired mind-sets and behavior
Whether leaders realize it or not, they seem to be in front of the cameras when they speak or act. “Every move you make, everything you say, is visible to all. Therefore the best approach is to lead by example,” advises Joseph M. Tucci, CEO of EMC, the US-based information storage equipment business. Ultimately, employees will weigh the actions of their CEO to determine whether they believe in the story.

Transform yourself
Employees expect the CEO to live up to Mahatma Gandhi’s famous edict, “For things to change, first I must change.” The CEO is the organization’s chief role model.

Typically, a personal transformation journey involves 360-degree feedback on leadership behavior specific to the program’s objectives, diary analysis to reveal how time is spent on transformation priorities, a commitment to a short list of personal transformation objectives, and professional coaching toward these ends. CEOs generally report that the process is most powerful when all members of an executive team pursue their transformation journeys individually but collectively discuss and reinforce their personal objectives in order to create an environment “of challenge and support.

Murthy’s 2002 decision to take on the job title of chief mentor at Infosys, for example, meant that he had to reinvent himself, because he laid aside his formal managerial (CEO) authority at the same time. He explains, “You have to sacrifice yourself first for a big cause before you can ask others to do the same,” adding, “A good leader knows how to retreat into the background gracefully while encouraging his successor to become more and more successful in the job.”

Take symbolic action
The quickest way to send shock waves through an organization is to conceive and execute a series of symbolic acts signaling to employees that they should behave in ways appropriate to a transformation and support these types of behavior in others. For instance, C. John Wilder, CEO of the Texas energy utility TXU, gave a large bonus to a woman who had taken a clear leadership role in a very important business initiative. “This leader’s contributions generated real economic value to the bottom line,” he explains. “Of course, news of that raced through the whole organization, but it helped employees understand that rewards will be based on contributions and that ‘pay for performance’ could actually be put into practice.”

Building a strong and committed top team
The CEO’s team can and should be a valuable asset in leading any transformation. As Deutsche Post’s Zumwinkel suggests, “You need excellent individual players, but you also need players who are dedicated to playing as a team.” Sharing a meaningful story and modeling the right role will certainly increase the odds of getting the team on board, but it is also vital to invest time in building that team.

Assess and act
Successful CEOs take time to assess the abilities of individual members of the team and act swiftly on the result. In some cases, input from third parties (such as executive search firms) is sought to create a more objective fact base. Many CEOs find it useful to map team members on a matrix, with “business performance” on one axis and “role-modeling the desired behavior” on the other. Those in the top-right box (desired behavior, high performance) are the organization’s stars, and those in the bottom-left box (undesired behavior, low performance) should be motivated, developed, or dismissed. The greatest potential for sending signals involves the employees in the box of “undesired behavior, high performance.” When clear action is taken to improve or remove these managers, the team’s members know that role-modeling and teamwork matter. Banca Intesa’s Passera affirms that, “If necessary, you have to get rid of those individuals, even the talented ones, who quarrel and cannot work together.”

How do CEOs know when to intervene with the strugglers? They can reflect on the following questions:
Do team members clearly understand what is expected of each of them in relation to the transformation?
Is the CEO serving as a positive role model?
Does everyone recognize the downside and upside of getting on board and doing what is required?
Have struggling team members received a chance to build the needed skills?
If the answer to all of these questions is yes, decisive action is justified.

Experienced CEOs attest to the positive impact this can have on the rest of the company. EMC’s Tucci says he had to take “public” action to tackle the “whiff of arrogance” that used to characterize certain parts of the company. TXU’s Wilder recalls that “When we did a cultural audit, we found that the number-one complaint was that management was not dealing with employees that everyone knew weren’t carrying their load.“

Invest team time
Even with the right team in place, it takes time for a group of highly intelligent, ambitious, and independent people to align themselves in a clear direction. Typically, the first order of business is for members to agree on what they can achieve as a team (not as individuals), how often the team should meet, what transformation issues should be discussed, and what behavior the team expects (and won’t tolerate). These agreements are often summarized in a “team charter” for leading the transformation, and the CEO can periodically use the charter to ensure that the team is on the right track.

Intesa’s Passera speaks of how he brought his team together regularly to “share almost everything,” to make it “clear to everyone who is doing what,” and to “keep the transformation initiatives, budgets, and financial targets knitted together.” P&G’s Lafley emphasizes the importance of spending the time together wisely: “You need to understand how to enroll the leadership team.” As a rule of thumb, 80 percent of the team’s time should be devoted to dialogue, with the remaining 20 percent invested in being “presented to.”

Effective dialogue requires a well-structured agenda, which typically ensures that ample time is spent in personal reflection (to ensure that each person forms an independent point of view from the outset), discussion in pairs or small groups (refining the thinking and exploring second- and third-level assumptions), and discussion by the full team before final decisions are made. In this process, little tolerance should be shown for minutiae (losing the forest for the trees) and for any lack of engagement. Face-to-face meetings, as opposed to conference calls, greatly enhance the effectiveness of team dialogue.

Relentlessly pursuing impact
Organizational energy—collective motivation, enthusiasm, and intense commitment—is a crucial ingredient of a successful transformation. There is no substitute for a CEO directing his or her personal energy toward ensuring that the company’s efforts have an impact.

Roll up your sleeves
Initiatives with a significant financial or symbolic value require the CEO’s personal involvement for maximum impact. There may be several beneficial effects, among them ensuring that important decisions are made quickly—without sacrificing the value of collective debate—and sowing the seeds of a culture of candor and decisiveness.

Leaders must be willing to leave the executive suite and help resolve difficult operational issues. Peter Gossas, president of Sandvik Materials Technology and a man with lifelong experience in the steel industry, observes, “If there’s a problem, it can be helpful if I come to the work floor, step up on a crate so that everyone can see me, and hold a discussion with a shift unit that may be negative to change.” He adds, “It’s hard for me to walk into a melt shop and not begin discussing ways to solve operational problems.”

Hold leaders accountable
Successful CEOs never lose sight of their management responsibility to chair review forums. Through these, they compare the results of the transformation program with the original plan, identify the root causes of any deviations, celebrate successes, help fix problems, and hold leaders accountable for keeping the transformation on track, both in activities (are people doing what they said they would?) and impact (will the program create the value we anticipated?). A central role for the CEO during these review forums is to ensure that decision making stays grounded in the facts. As Narayana Murthy wryly observes, “We have embraced the adage ‘In God we trust; everyone else brings data to the table.’”

The CEO also plays a critical role in ensuring an appropriate balance between near-term profit initiatives (those that deliver performance today) and organizational-health initiatives (those that build the capacity to deliver tomorrow’s results). This is a lesson applied by John Varley, CEO of Barclays: “For several years, the focus on initiatives to improve financial performance dramatically crowded out attention on franchise health, leaving us with a set of issues in some businesses that needed urgent attention. We are addressing those issues.” During the transformation, some CEOs even choose to hold separate review meetings for short- and long-term objectives in order to ensure that companies maintain a balance between operational improvement (tactical strategies, wage management, productivity, and asset management) and long-term growth (revenue and volume growth through market share, new products, channels and marketing, M&A, talent, and capability management).

For CEOs leading a transformation, no single model guarantees success. But they can improve the odds by targeting leadership functions: making the transformation meaningful, modeling the desired mind-sets and behavior, building a strong and committed team, and relentlessly pursuing impact. Together, these can powerfully generate the energy needed to achieve a successful performance transformation.

Source:, June 2017
Authors: Carolyn Aiken and Scott Keller.
About the authors: Carolyn Aiken is a consultant in McKinsey’s Toronto office, and Scott Keller is a principal in the Chicago office.

Därför ska du investera i hängivna företagsledare

Posted in Aktuellt, Board work / Styrelsearbete, Leadership / Ledarskap on May 30th, 2017 by admin

Investera Aktieinvesteringar är mer än bara ekonomiska nyckeltal, räkenskaper och finansmodeller. Bolag som leds av inspirerande och hängivna ledare har visat sig vara särskilt lönsamma, skriver ODIN Fonder som ger ett exempel på ett sådant bolag som tagits in i portföljen.

I sin bok «Intelligent Fanatics Project – How great leaders build sustainable businesses» beskriver Ian Cassel vad som kännetecknar ledare som åstadkommit exceptionell aktieavkastning under många decennier.

Den här typen av ledare har två utmärkande drag som förklarar varför det går så bra för dem:

• De vet hur man ska behandla medarbetare

• De vet hur verksamheten ska organiseras

Världsmästare på kapitalallokering

Vi har tidigare pratat om vad ”god” ledning är ur ett finansiellt perspektiv. Slutsatsen var att goda ledare alltid vet vilken kapitalkälla som ska användas (skuld, eget kapital eller fritt kassaflöde), och var kapitalet ska sysselsättas (investeringar, förvärv, utdelning, skuldavbetalningar eller återköp av aktier).

Så kallad kapitalallokering, det vill säga förmågan att flytta pengar från ett ställe till ett annat, är ett utmärkande drag hos goda ledare ur ett ägarperspektiv. Men ”intelligenta fanatiker” går ett steg längre. De vet hur verksamheten ska läggas upp för att åstadkomma konkurrensfördelar och de vet hur man behandlar medarbetarna.

Organisation och ledning

När ett bolag rör sig från litet till stort så klarar dessa ledare att bevara småföretagskänslan utan byråkrati fast med korta beslutsvägar, riskbenägenhet och entreprenörskap i behåll. Och de är aldrig nöjda.

De har ofta en informell ledarstil och pratar med alla medarbetare oavsett nivå i organisationen; de flyger ekonomiklass; bor på vanliga hotell och går i jeans på jobbet. De har inte ledningsgrupper – de arbetar i team. De kommunicerar enkelt och tydligt och har mycket få ledningsnivåer i organisationen. De strävar ständigt efter förbättringar och är paranoida när det kommer till kostnader.

Carlos Brito, koncernchef på bryggerijätten ABInBev, slår huvudet på spiken när han säger:
«Costs are like fingernails. You have to cut them all the time. If not, they grow»

De bryr sig mindre om tjänsteår och rang. Som anställd blir du bedömd utifrån dina prestationer. Och presterar du bra så får du bra betalt. Sådana ledare bryr sig mer om kunderna än aktieägarna, då de vet att det gynnar aktieägarna på lång sikt.

Överraskande nog har dessa ledare ofta begränsad branscherfarenhet och saknar ofta både affärsplan och uttalad strategi. De börjar som regel med noll erfarenhet och lite kunskap om den bransch bolagen verkar i. Det gör att de tänker helt annorlunda än etablerade aktörer.

Visste inget om öl
Exempelvis visste inte grundarna av ABInBev – världens största öltillverkare – hur man brygger öl. Men de visste allt om hur anställda fungerar. Det hade de lärt sig genom att bygga upp en mäklarfirma.

På ABInBev har filosofin fungerat i flera decennier, och vi tror att trenden kommer att hålla i sig en lång tid framöver. Detta är anledningen till att vi investerat i bolaget. Vi värdesätter bolaget just tack vare dess ledning och kultur.

Medarbetarna som ägare
Ledare som kan få medarbetarna att agera och tänka som ägare har goda chanser att skapa något unikt och varaktigt. Ägarna uppför sig inte på samma sätt som medarbetarna. Äger du bilen du kör beter du dig annorlunda än om du hyr en bil. Vem har inte varit frestad att testa vad som händer med hyrbilen om man gasar och håller i handbromsen samtidigt? Det gör du inte om du äger bilen själv.

Dessa hängivna och inspirerande ledare respekterar medarbetarna och ger dem möjlighet att utvecklas. De vill att medarbetarna ska få chansen att lyckas. Incitament som involverar medarbetarna i bolagets resultatutveckling är ett viktigt verktyg för dem.

Eller för att citera en av de centrala figurerna i uppbyggandet av ABInBev, Marcel Telles:

«Actually, the main role of a manager is to recruit, train, motivate and especially to keep people within the organization. A business manager should be called a people manager. Those who are really good with people will be good as a manager»

Investeringar handlar om så mycket mer än kassaflöden, kvartalsrapporter och nästa års marginaler.

Källa: Privata Affärer och Odin Fonder, maj 2017

Why good board fails (part 3)

Posted in Aktuellt, Board work / Styrelsearbete, Executive Coaching on May 8th, 2017 by admin

Not knowing “The Rules”

Every corporation is unique. Understanding the corporation’s constitution, both the “formal” and “informal” rules and the Board and organisational policies, procedures and protocols takes time. I have yet to serve on two Boards that are similar. Every Board and every corporation is substantially unique.

Attempting to follow practices and procedures you know from previous Board experiences may not fit the culture and environment of the next Board you sit on. In a one-on-one interview with a new Board Director of an Industrial/Construction Corporation, the leader described how he had historically taken the habit of walking around prior to Board meetings; informal chats, a quick coffee with the CFO, a couple of phrases exchanged with the COO, a brief conversation with receptionists. When he attempted this in a new, culturally-different organisation, he was finally taken aside by a fellow Board member who explained the cultural implications and the negative perception that his “constant spying” was having on the Executive. This was resolved by scheduling formal appointments, over coffee, and once the trust had been established, he received complaints from the individuals who he may have missed having coffee with at subsequent Board meetings. He did, however, learn a substantial amount about the organisation and its internal “rules” and workings which aided in making him a better Board Member.

Source: Stanton Chace, April 2017

Why good boards fail (part 2)

Posted in Aktuellt, Board work / Styrelsearbete on April 27th, 2017 by admin

Board members not “Up To Date”

Board Members need access to the right information, at the right time, at the right level of detail in order to make the right decisions. The Board agenda and its associated Board papers form a substantial part of the information Boards Members receive to make those decisions.ladda ned (1)

The Board agenda will determine the issues to be discussed; this document is commonly assembled by the Chairman and the Corporate Secretary with input from the Executive. A Chairman would also typically offer Board Members the opportunity to suggest additional items as it is each Board Member’s responsibility to ensure that the right matters are tabled. The Chairman’s role in this is important to ensure the right agenda balance and further safeguard that the Executive is not overly controlling the Board’s agenda and possibly avoiding or reinforcing certain subjects.

I have worked extensively with one Board (Financial Services Industry) who requested that every Board paper presented by the Executive to the Board also include a final paragraph entitled “Recommended Board Resolution”. This recommended board resolution paragraph was to be written in a format that could be included in Board Minutes if the Board resolved to accept the recommendation. This not only crystallised the Executive’s recommendation in writing in one paragraph, but also allowed the Board to focus on the specific subject at hand.

Source: Stanton Chase
Author: Jan Bladen

Why good boards fail (part 1)

Posted in Aktuellt, Allmänt, Board work / Styrelsearbete on April 21st, 2017 by admin

Board mix
Board of Directors is only as good as the individual Board Members who sit on the Board. Understanding the importance of the role whilst possessing the required skills, relevant qualifications and experience is fundamental to success.
Ensuring that Board Members have an appropriate mix of skills, competencies and characteristics is an important aspect of building a good Board and is critical for successful boardroom performance.
In recent years, Boards have evolved into requiring more specialist skills in particular areas. For example, newspaper corporations have been actively seeking IT and multimedia expertise as their industry shifts more online. However, as well has having a specialised capability, Board Members also need broad competence and experience across a whole series of skill sets to fulfil their obligations as Board Members. This has implications for Board Director selection and the development of a robust Board Director Assessment Framework as it becomes more challenging to find that combination of specialist skills with the broad suite of experience. Increasingly, Boards need deep operational and industry skills with members who understand the complexity of the business.

Source: Stanton Chase
Author: Jan Bladen

Ökade krav på styrelsearbetet

Posted in Aktuellt, Board work / Styrelsearbete on March 23rd, 2017 by admin

“Sitter du i styrelsen eller arbetar du i styrelsen”?

Det går inte en vecka utan att vi läser om ett ökat ansvar, snabba och många gånger oannonserade VD-byten, digitaliseringsutmaningar, johan_mathsonsvårigheten i att hitta en optimal sammansättning av styrelsen, den effektivaste styrelseagendan och arbetsformen. Aldrig har styrelsearbetet varit så utmanande som idag!

Då är det ingen överraskning att intresset för faktabaserade styrelseutvärderingar ökat närmast explosionsartat de senaste åren.
Lagercrantz Associates har sammanställt utvecklingen inom nordiskt styrelsearbete (baserat på drygt 140 faktabaserade styrelseutvärderingar 2012 – 2016). Resultatet är både intressant och till delar förvånande.

Minskat intresse för internationella ledamöter
Ett par av de orsaker som anges är bristande engagemang (till viss del kopplat till, i en internationell jämförelse, låga arvoden) och språkbarriärer.

Styrelsens strategiarbete
76% anser att strategiarbetet inte håller en tillräckligt hög kvalitet. Denna bild förstärks av att 55% av alla VD inte är tillfreds med det ”strategistöd” man får från sin styrelse.
”För att utveckla styrelsens strategibidrag ser vi hur allt fler styrelser släpper rutinen med en årlig strategidag och istället har två, tre eller t.o.m. fyra strategidagar per år” berättar Johan Mathson, partner på Lagercrantz Associates.

Utvärdering av VD
59% anser att man inte har en tillräckligt effektiv process för att utvärdera bolagets VD. Under de två senaste säsongerna ser vi ett kraftigt ökat intresse för VD-utvärderingar. I regel görs de samtidigt som den årliga styrelseutvärderingen. Flera styrelseordföranden motiverar detta med bl.a. att en årlig, faktabaserad och effektiv VD-utvärdering, avdramatiserar utvärderingen av VD (vilket annars kan upplevas som att ”nu är det nog något på gång”).

”Utöver att bedöma VDs insats blir det allt viktigare att säkerställa ”alignment” (samsyn) mellan styrelsen och VD / den verkställande ledningen vad gäller ägaragendan” berättar Johan.

Successionsplanering (verkställande ledning och andra nyckelpersoner)
En så stor andel som 93% säger sig sakna en tillräcklig väl dokumenterad sucessionsplan. Här ser vi en stor skillnad på styrelser med en ordförande (eller andra ledamöter) som i praktiken ställts inför successionsproblem i tidigare styrelseuppdrag. I dessa fall brukar successionsplanen vara av en betydligt högre kvalitet.

Styrelsens hållbarhetsarbete
Generellt sett det huvudområde där man ser den största andelen kritiska styrelser (55%).
”Vår erfarenhet är att styrelsen måsta arbeta sig igenom tre faser för att nå en tillräcklig kvalitet i sitt hållbarhetsarbete:

Att helt enkelt lägga mer tid/ett större fokus på dessa frågor.
Definiera vad hållbarhetsbegreppet betyder i den bransch man verkar och för just den egna verksamheten.
Säkerställa att hållbarhetsarbetet blir en naturlig del i den affärsdrivande verksamheten och att den skapar konkreta värden” berättar Johan.

70% av nordiska styrelser anser att man måste lägga mer tid på att förstå och diskutera kund, kundpreferenser och vilka kundvärden man vill skapa. Som en viktig del i detta anser 65% att man behöver mer och/eller bättre underlag från den verkställande ledningen inom detta område. Här bör styrelsens kravställande öka.

Huvudorsaken till denna självkritiska bild är bl.a. att områden som regleringar och compliance tagit (och tar) så mycket tid i styrelsearbetet. Johan berättar om en styrelse man arbetar med där man har 8.000 sidor obligatoriskt inläsningsmaterial per år. ”Jag tror inte att vi nämnt ordet kund i styrelsen under det senaste året”, uttryckte en frustrerad ledamot, berättar Johan.

Detta är några av de slutsatser Lagercrantz Associates drar av sitt arbete med Faktabaserade Styrelseutvärderingar med syftet att stödja styrelser i att öka sin effektivitet och bidra till ökat värdeskapande.

Lagercrantz Associates:

Lagercrantz Associates är en svensk boutiquefirma som arbetar med:
– Rekrytering (Board search och Executive search)
– Assessment (Styrelseutvärdering, ledningsgruppsutvärdering och Management assessment)
Kunder är svenska, nordiska och internationella bolag med en fördelning på 62% noterade bolag, 28% PE-bolag och 10% statliga bolag.
På årsbasis genomförs faktabaserade styrelseutvärderingar med ca. 350 styrelseledamöter.

Källa:, 22 mars 2017