Insight

Resilience: leading for the long term

Insights from lead directors on rethinking oversight to help raise the board’s game, strengthen the company’s resilience, and position the business and the board for the future.

It’s increasingly clear that resilience is proving to be the great differentiator of the pandemic era. From pivoting to remote everything and focusing on workforce well-being to deepening digital engagement and recalibrating supply chains, the ability to quickly adapt to the dramatic disruptions and dislocations of the past year has defined the thrivers and survivors.

It is also clear that resilience—of strategy, the organization, and operating muscle—is key to positioning companies for the dynamic challenges and opportunities of the postpandemic world.

For many companies, the accelerating speed, complexity, and societal expectations of business over the past several years have sharpened the board’s focus on strategy, risk, talent and the workforce, and corporate purpose. These are not new challenges. But COVID-19 and the events of 2020 brought greater urgency and focus to these issues in the boardroom.

“Companies and boards are at a pivotal moment,” said one lead director. “The need to reimagine, rethink, and reset is probably a once-in-a-generation opportunity.”

To that end, the lead directors we interviewed for this fourth paper in our series offered insights on ways boardroom leaders are rethinking four critical areas to help raise the board’s game, strengthen the company’s resilience, and position the business and the board for the future:

  • Deepening the board’s engagement in strategy and envisioning the future
  • Changing risk profiles and the implications for risk oversight and crisis readiness
  • Elevating corporate purpose, ESG, and stakeholder interests
  • Having the right individuals in the boardroom and C-suite

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