Bored Games

SynergiesTake that offlineStrategic fit
At the end of the dayGap analysis Best practice
Bottom lineCore competency Revisit
VisionValue add Big picture
80% RightPro-active not reactiveWin-win situation
Think outside the squareFast track Performance driven
AnchorsRubber on the road Vertically integrate
Generate buy-inGame planMindset
Number 2 positionScenario analysisPut out on the table
New paradigmBench-markingNo brainer
Flow on effectBed this one downCompetitive space
Touch base Check-out High risk approach

Testimonials from some wide awake
members include:
? “I’d only been in the meeting for five minutes when I yelled Bingo!”
? “My attention span at meetings has improved dramatically.”
? “I feel that the game has enhanced the overall quality of meetings per se on quid pro quo basis.”
Some business leaders enjoy the game so much in real life that they… yes… incentivise it. Sort of.
Professor of Business Ethics at Auckland’s Unitec, Gael McDonald regularly revises the bingo vocab she encounters.
At management retreats she hands out mints to hapless prize-winners.
Bingo words are the transient but trendy affirmations that everybody is speaking the same language. It may just be corporate ?slanguage’, but it is still communication of kind. It’s the lack of communication by some boards with their shareholders which is beginning to worry the Institute of Directors. For example, there is often no meeting of the minds between directors and shareholders over directors’ fees says the Institute’s chief executive David Newman. In his view this is partly because boards are not making full use of governance statements.
“Very few boards spell out what they do – there’s very real need for them to tell people what directors do.”
Newman feels lot of information is simply dumped on shareholders at annual general meetings, when there should have been lot more information before then.
“There should be continuing regime of disclosure rather than shareholders getting this information once year,” says Newman, who believes many boards are too risk-averse.
The result, says Newman, is an unnecessarily conservative approach to relationships with the company’s real owners.
Listed companies are required to report half-yearly and, professor of accountancy at Victoria University Don Trow, sees no problems with this system. He points out though that in some jurisdictions companies report quarterly – Telecom does it here.
Trow, director of Rymand Health and member of the board of the Stock Exchange, feels that quarterly reporting has both advantages and disadvantages for New Zealand companies because of the seasonal fluctuations some of them face.
“I think it’s reasonable to say though, that directors should make efforts to keep in touch with shareholders – they are after all the owners,” he says.
“I think it’s also reasonable to say that directors can easily forget that there is shareholder community out there that needs to know. The company becomes its own sort of empire – that’s just the nature of things.”
It’s when things start to go wrong in company that shareholders begin to get “grumpy” says Trow, who is strong believer in getting bad news out early.
He adds though that good directors know not only their obligations to shareholders but to concepts of good governance.
It’s in this discipline where some jarring shocks have been recorded by major companies.
Some relate directly to controversies over directors’ fees. But less predictably, shareholder quakes come from groups or people with wide-ranging agendas – from anti-vivisectionists to environmentalists.
Professor McDonald points to the example of resolution filed by number of Royal Dutch/Shell shareholders at its 1997 annual general meeting.
It called for the company to clean up its act on environmental and human rights issues.
According to the Economist this followed the humiliation of the Brent Spar dumping decision, and criticism of the company’s activities in Nigeria.There the government executed activist Ken Saro-Wiwa, who among other things, campaigned against oil pollution caused by Shell.
McDonald says interim reporting may reflect the financials but believes that other, social dimensions are becoming just as important as companies increasingly move towards serving the triple bottom line.
“How you get to the end result is becoming important. Shareholders are becoming concerned about means as well as ends,” she says.
If they are dissatisfied at the means they could well invest in other, more ethical companies, says McDonald.
And that, as any bingo player will tell you, is such no-brainer, high risk scenario-analysis that it should put rubber on the road in any boardroom.

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