The first point made by almost all contributors in our recent survey on “How Chairman deal with Adversity” was that an under-chaired Board in the upswing will be vulnerable in adversity. All were clear that the most significant contribution a chair can make when difficult times hit is having invested time and rigour in developing the Board well up to that point.

A summary of the points contributors made on this subject could be that a well-led Board is prepared for all eventualities. This preparedness can be identified as all Board members, collectively and individually, displaying high levels of:

  • Clarity of purpose
  • Shared respect and trust
  • Knowledge of the business and the context in which it operates
  • open debate and challenge

    Implicit in many of the comments made is that the Chair needs to manage their ego in order to bear requisite objectivity and also to help the CEo to manage his ego (should it not be his natural inclination).