The Watermark Search International board practice
Directors have a number of items on their agenda this year:
- Board diversity (in the broadest sense)
- Legal and regulatory compliance
- Company culture
- Rapidly changing business models
Diversity is not about ticking a box. It is about increasing the performance of the board, by introducing different ways of thinking or different sets of experiences.
Cybersecurity continues to grow as a major concern for businesses. As more and more data is captured by businesses the potential value of that information to both the business and third parties increases. Staying ahead of the potential for damage to a business is critical.
The level of compliance required by the regulatory bodies, and expected by the shareholders, continues to grow and shows no sign of abating. The Board has to balance the time demands of the current compliance framework with the need to stay focussed on the strategic imperatives of the business. It is too easy to become mired in the month to month process of compliance and miss the bigger picture.
The importance of being a good corporate citizen is widely acknowledged as is the fact that the tone is set by the board. Perceived lapses in this area can be extremely damaging both to the company and the individual. The role the board plays in steering corporate culture was well recognised prior to the 2018 Royal Commission into Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services: it is now in stark focus.
New business models and new entrants into the market, such as Amazon and Lidl, have the power to significantly alter the competitive landscape. The continuing shift to more online and global business models is a permanent fixture and the pervasive bricks and mortar business base of many companies is having to be repurposed.
Watermark Search International has had the opportunity to assist a number of boards to respond to these priorities.
At Watermark Search International we recognise the unique contribution that board members make to a specific business. We conduct your search to a specific brief, we do not just provide a list of names. More often than not we are seeking individuals with a specific skill set that complements those that already exist within a board. Those skills either fill a gap in the board’s current experience or are matched against a strategy or business direction yet to be executed. We are also looking for a specific culture fit given the need for a board to act as a cohesive unit. This does not mean that a new director just says ‘Yes’ a lot but it does mean they are open to listening to others, incorporating someone else’s point of view into their thinking and challenging the status quo in the appropriate manner.
We are focused on ensuring our clients have a diverse range of candidates from which to make a selection. That range includes all of the components of diversity, not just gender. The research quite clearly shows that boards, and executive teams, comprised of a more diverse range of contributors perform better. Please contact us if you would like us to provide you more information on that third-party research.
At Watermark Search International we assist in:
- Helping new Directors build their portfolios
- Building Boards from scratch
- Broadening the diversity of a Board
- Building new skills into the Board
- Building advisory Boards
- Advising on the appropriate level of Directors fees
- Building an onboarding process for new Directors
- Developing a Board skills matrix to identify potential, current or future, experience gaps.
Register your interest
If you want to broaden your board portfolio, be considered for roles for your first board position you are welcome to send your details to Graham Willis. You can also use the contact form on the right-hand side of this page to provide us with your background. Your details will be treated in the strictest confidence and we will contact you when we have a board role that we see as a good fit with your skills and experience.
As you embark on or continue, your board career we hope you find the following links useful.
The Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) is the main body that represents Company Directors in Australia. It provides high-quality training to Directors and aspiring Directors and has a wealth of information on its website. If you are, or wish to be, a director you should consider joining the AICD as well as undertaking some of their training.
The Governance Institute of Australia is another source of useful information and is more geared towards Chartered Secretaries, governance advisors and risk managers. The Institute also has a range of training programs that are well regarded.
The ASX Corporate Governance Council has the role of continually reviewing and enhancing corporate governance practices in Australia. The Council’s recommendations provide the benchmark against which listed entities measure their governance practices. Listed entities do not have to comply with the Council’s recommendation however where they do not conform they have to disclose their non-conformance and the reasons why they do not conform. If you want to check what principles a board should operate under…this is the place to do it.
The Australian Securities & Investment Commission is Australia’s corporate, markets and financial services regulator and provides a guide aimed at smaller businesses to help their directors comply with their legal obligations.