EDITOR’S LETTER : Best of breed

As with so many aspects of business life, deciding factor in the success or failure of governance rests with its people. Good governance, as I see it, boils down to having the right person in the right role at the right time. softer subset of contributing factors kicks in fast. Does particular director have specific expertise that could boost the organisation to its next level of success? Or could they, at least, plug gaping hole in current boardroom competencies? Are they good with figures? Do they have particularly keen nose for strategic direction? Do they bring deep understanding of the industry and its complexities? Or are they refreshingly free from sectoral prejudices and inground assumptions?
These and myriad other questions help define the selection of our nation’s directors and with it the hopes of our collective economic progress. That’s the theory anyway. In practice, as studies have shown and intuition tells us, that’s not always the case.
So in this issue of The Director we’ve taken look at governance issues from people perspective. Is it possible, our cover story asks, for directors to drive the corporate conscience from the boardroom, and, if so, what are the organisational benefits? Cathy Sheehan’s article, which starts on page eight of this issue, checks out the practicalities for directors who step up to the challenge.
Then there’s the thorny issue of matching up directors and organisations to get the best fit. Here in New Zealand, this problem has long been compounded by lack of robust and practical recruitment mechanisms. So it is with much pleasure that we reveal the launch of online corporate governance matchmaking service, FindDirectors.com. (See “Round pegs in round holes” on page 14.) Plus The Director readers get chance to test drive this new service for free.
Another article probes problems in our audit committees, where local study shows we’re woefully in need of improvement (see “Far from acceptable” page 16). Yet another piece teases out the need for directors with different skillsets at varying times of an organisation’s development (“Resolving the Icarus paradox” on page 4).
Get stuff like this sorted and we’re romping home. For people will always remain both our biggest hurdle and our greatest hope for the future.

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