Start-ups and fast growth companies, public service organisations, charities and non-profits all succeed or fail for a multitude of reasons but leadership, governance, attitudes to risk and a clear focus on well-defined goals are known to be absolutely vital to success. In a world with so many external pressures, dangers and uncertainty, standing still is not an option. Stagnation means failure.
But how do organisations keep moving forward and grow at the same time and how do they plot their paths in such an uncertain environment? Research and development might be the key for one organisation, sales could be another, getting the right people, controlling finances; these are all vital, but at the core of all of them is making the right decisions at the right time.
Decision Making and Good Governance
A solid approach to decision making and governance are hardly the dreams of entrepreneurial or creative ambition. But of all the responsibilities shouldered by successful leadership teams, good governance, managing risk and performance is rapidly rising to the top of everyone’s agenda.
Companies and organisations committed to growth, expansion and competitiveness are now looking to the less glamorous corners of their structures to make sure they are on sound footing. Regulatory, political and economic storms may lie ahead and it is time for leadership teams across all sectors to batten down the hatches, tighten up their governance and embrace the concept of corporate responsibility more fully. We need only look at recent, very public failures and tragedies resulting from the more glaring examples of poor governance to understand the enormous downside.
However, the upside and real motivation for revisiting good governance should be the simple equation that good governance means success. The best leaders understand risk and use it to their advantage, they have a laser-like focus on their goals and they make and manage decisions based on the best available information.
There are many software tools and methodologies available to assist in governance but it is vital that the tools fit the task, are easy to roll-out, and then get out of the way to let skilled managers do what they do best.
Using the Right Tools
Using the right tools can have a dramatic impact on quality of life, stress levels and efficiency. They will also drive new, bolder and better-informed attitudes to managing risk. Increasingly organisations are deploying solutions to create broader buy-in into corporate goals and objectives right across their structures because employee engagement is more than just an annual event; it is an ongoing commitment which drives and encourages motivation, loyalty and happiness at work.
Many leadership teams who have embraced these solutions now say their lives have been enhanced, that their organisations are performing better and that the changes which they thought would be disruptive, destabilising and generally a nuisance, have happened quickly and painlessly.
A simple example that shows how the right tool can dramatically enhance decision making is the digital transformation of board and management meetings. Moving from paper or clumsy file sharing and email solutions to a dedicated digital meeting solution has almost immediate benefits. “Organising monthly board meetings used to be a two-week long chore, preparing papers, circulating them, ensuring they were received and so on,.” say a number of financial services managers. “Because of the new solutions we have adopted, the time spent on these has been vastly reduced and attention is now focused on more creative and developmental tasks.”
Transform how your Risk Register is Managed
In the same way, moving from a simple spreadsheet risk register that is dusted off once a quarter for review, to a live, embedded, integrated solution means that risk management can become a real strategic tool instead of an administrative chore.
The administrative burden of governance will always be a consideration but for increasing numbers of organisations this burden is being significantly lightened. Participation, vision and responsiveness may be among the features of good governance which are as easy to embrace as they are motivating and enriching but equally central are the less exciting characteristics of transparency, equity, accountability and compliance. Add to this effectiveness, efficiency and productivity and you start to get a sense of how broad the leadership team’s responsibilities are and therefore how stretched their resources can be. With the right tools, an enthusiastic leadership and a desire for improvement these are all elements that can be immediately and dramatically enhanced to the benefit of the whole organisation.
Gain Better Oversight
Good analysis, excellent, easy to use solutions and almost immediate results are now available to those who reach out for them. Organisations across the island of Ireland have embarked on this journey of improvement, many have found it remarkably straightforward and are reaping the rewards. It’s time to embrace governance as a necessity and, much more importantly, as a highly effective strategic tool.
David Braziel, Technical Director at Decision Time.