The recent article “Governance is Governance” by Sir John Tusa on his boardroom experience raised several questions with regards to how one perceives and undertakes governance and boardroom practice. Especially how one director approaches an issue compared to another.
The article gave an example about “Observing guidelines and regulations required of a board member will not make you a useful member. A Board which ticks all the boxes of board obligations will not be a good board”.
Initially, I read this as meaning “do not follow the rules and regulations” and I am sure that Sir John did not mean for colleagues to perceive his observations as such. With over 20 years’ experience as a director within the chemical industry, I found this statement to be at odds with what I see as good practice especially as I work in an industry whereby if you do not follow best practice, guidelines and regulations then the result may be detrimental to human life and the environment.
In fact, I agree with Sir John on governance being as a result of judgement, interactions and your personal approach because as directors we have to have the ultimate responsibility for our actions on the boards and organisations we represent.
And it is on that point, where you see the role of a director as being accountable – we all look at situations from the various perspectives and experiences that we have. Thus, two directors faced with the same information may arrive at different conclusions and consequences and it is this that makes being a director interesting and different.
Thus, we all have a view on what good governance looks like. As a Chartered Director, I am committed to being the best director that I can be and to always be looking for opportunities to learn from others.
Dr Richard Smith is a Chartered Director and Chief Operating Officer and Director of 2M Group Ltd