How Nigerian Executives Can Reinvent Boardroom, Improve Fortunes amidst Volatility

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Business/Perspective PAGE

Corporate executives are caught in the complex maze of changes and not sure of the best step forward to create and manage a prolific board that makes a positive difference. Chair of the United Kingdom-based TEXEM, Dr. Alim Abubakre, believes Nigerian executives can survive and triumph over the nation’s economic challenges as it organises a world-class masterclass for them, writes Bayo Akinloye

Few things in organisations are as important as well-managed and effective boards. But in a world that fast-changing technologies is the new normal, the composition, capacity and the role of organisational boards when optimised could be a veritable source of sustainable competitive advantage.

In many emerging economies like Nigeria characterised by volatile economic and regulatory ecosystem, limited infrastructure, weak institutions and the high cost of operations, the structure, administration and strategies of boards have become even more complicated, critical and could actually make or mar the progress of organisations.

Volatilities increase risks and accentuate the role of boards for organisational success.

It’s critical for boards to enhance their capacity on how to provide strategic direction, optimise decisions to strike a balance between risk management and developing a culture of innovation as well as how to lead effectively to achieve profitable growth and excellent performance in this increasingly turbulent, uncertain, complex and ambiguous landscape.

To address these imminent leadership challenges, The Executive Minds, TEXEM, a United Kingdom-based leading executive education provider, is organising a two-day masterclass on creating and running prolific boards and directors.

The programme, TEXEM says, is designed for board members, chairpersons, director generals, executive secretaries, permanent secretaries, and managing directors, among others. Secretaries of boards, independent non-executive directors, general managers, chief human resource officers, chief financial officers, chief internal auditors or chief risk officers, regulators and standards setters, plus, general councils, and entrepreneurs will also benefit from this training.

Specifically, participants will learn how to address the challenges facing boards and develop a viable approach to impactful success.

Sometimes, corporate executives are caught in the complex maze of changes, and not sure of the best step forward to create and manage a prolific board that makes a positive difference. Tested and respected, TEXEM’s proven, cutting-edge, masterclass will transform a corporate boardroom from a passive, less productive board into a better strategic thinking board leader ready to establish and maintain good governance practices.

“In this turbulent, challenging, dynamic and fast-paced operating landscape characterised by new risks and opportunities, good governance remains the bane of many Nigerian organisations success,” says Dr. Alim Abubakre, Chair of TEXEM.

He adds: “During this programme with Prof. Andrew Chambers, former Dean of Cass Business School London, senior executives in Nigeria would learn how to clearly define the board’s purpose and move beyond compliance to value creation for all stakeholders.”

Prof. Chambers’ successful career in creating and running vibrant boards, stimulating better board performance, the masterclass participants will be learning from one of the world’s leading boardroom gurus as he will guide executives through the techniques that they need to develop and manage dynamic boards.

Chambers started his career as an auditor and IT consultant with Arthur Andersen & Co, before moving on to run an internal audit function of a manufacturing company. He was the world’s first professor of internal auditing. He was awarded the IIA (UK)’s Distinguished Service Award (2008) and then the global IIA’s Bradford Cadmus Memorial Award ‘to honour individuals who have made the most significant contribution to the advancement of the internal audit profession.

He was also recognised as ‘an outstanding advocate, author, practitioner and subject matter expert, whose leadership and commitment to internal auditing has advanced the profession on a global level.’

He was twice mentioned in the UK House of Lords’ debates as “an authority on corporate governance” and recognised by The UK Times newspaper as ‘a worldwide authority on corporate governance,’ and has run masterclasses in more than 48 countries across the world.

He is currently a member of the joint UK Institute of Directors/Institute of Internal Auditors’ panel developing new guidance for directors on internal audit.

Chambers has been a director of a large mutual insurer (The Medical Defence Union), a well-known charity (The Tavistock Institute), an FTSE250 financial institution (The Paragon Group of Companies), a bank (The National Mortgage Bank) and several smaller public sectors, private and family businesses. He was also a judge for Hawkamah’s Bank Corporate Governance Awards in the MENASA region (2009-15), and (b) the ICSA-Hermes Transparency in Governance Awards (2011-15). He conducted the 2012 Board Evaluation for the Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank.

Through group discussion, review of case studies and presentations, the participants will draw from the wealth of experience of Chambers and learn about boards that have succeeded and those that have not and how to proactively plan to prevent failure.

Among the core objectives of the programme is the evolving of executives with the best skills as they will learn to identify the right strategies to expand their roles beyond conventional governance. Thus, with the use of real-life scenarios during the masterclass participants will develop insights into how to develop a viable plan, manage risk, lead more effectively in crises, and engage stakeholders for value creation.

For board directors, the masterclass will bring their ideas to life and help implement best practices that contribute to effective and efficient organisations.

Secondly, the programme will provide impetus for executives to get ahead of their peers with essential skills.

“It is newly designed to ensure that participants are made aware of the measures and approaches available to impact positively on board and director effectiveness,” says Chambers.

He adds: “The intention is to inspire participants with proven ways to re-engineer corporate governance in practice and to provide practical ‘toolkit’ advice on how to apply these state-of-the-art methods.”

Another core objective is the pursuit of a learning path. TEXEM masterclass curriculum is designed to reflect core issues related to boards such as accountability, transparency, and strategic leadership.

Therefore, participants will leave the masterclass with a profound appreciation of crucial elements of creating and running a successful board.

Away from that, TEXEM provides a veritable platform for networking which is the oxygen of growth and innovation.

“Networking and debating with other workshop participants will give valuable opportunities to identify the pitfalls and the strategies on how to resolve some of those challenges.

“Furthermore, via this programme, participants are assured of bumper return of investment via enhanced social capital (which could lead to new business opportunities and strategic synergies) and steeper learning curve,” says Chambers.

TEXEM noted that its masterclass contents will delve into areas such as corporate governance; accountability (how and to whom?); setting direction, developing the business model, strategic planning; and respective responsibilities of owners, other stakeholders, boards and management.

Other areas are oversight of management; the relevance of corporate governance codes, and company law; effective board (understanding and discharging the duties of boards, leadership, board composition, board diversity, effective chairing, scheduling meetings, agendas and minutes; participating in meetings and interfacing the board with the board’s committees.

The class will also explores topics of serving boards – the role of the company secretary and others; evaluating the performance of boards, board committees and directors; effective directors; understanding and discharging the responsibilities of directors; dealing with the challenges executive directors experience; dealing with the obstacles non-executive directors experience; meaning and purpose of director independence, etc.

According to Abubakre, TEXEM boss, the masterclass will focus on core areas like effective board committees (effectively discharging the responsibilities of audit committees; the board’s responsibility for oversight of risk, and the role of board risk committees; succession planning and the duties of the nomination committees; determining executive remuneration and non-executive director fees, and the role of remuneration committees; other board committees).

In addition, the programme’s participants will be introduced to the relevance of corporate governance codes, learn about company law, distinctive qualities of public and private entities as Prof. Chambers will show executives how to create and manage successful boards in family businesses, small and medium scale enterprises, public sector and not-for-profit entities.

TEXEM prides itself in the understanding of the skills board directors and members need to support the growth of boards. Therefore, the TEXEM masterclass has been designed with both individuals and organisations in mind.

The course will give both individuals and organisations, valuable and relevant knowledge to create productive and progressive boards. It will also help executives gain core skills needed to make a positive impact on the board and empower them to foster better and more engaged boards.

This will result in organisational benefits that include better self-starting board directors that give directions to members; more effective teams; increased creativity and innovation at all levels; improved communication skills; higher personal and group morale. On the other hand, the masterclass will benefit the individual in terms of improved self-awareness; improved Communication at all points in the hierarchy; promote best practices; increased creativity and innovation.

“As a board director and member, you don’t want to miss an opportunity that helps you come to grips with aspects of accountability, setting direction, developing the business model, strategic planning and management oversight. TEXEM prides in their ability to customise programmes for their clients. The training scheduled for April 10 and 11 this year and will take place at the Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos.

“We have world-class faculty partners with an excellent grasp of the contextual realities of Africa. Anyone that wants to find out more about the course can enquire on +447983128450 or visit our website: https://texem.co.uk/programmes/developing-efficient-and-effective-leaders-for-success-in-an-era-of-slow-growth-and-low-performance.html,” says Abubakre.