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Schmoozing stakeholders – exclusive CEO giveaway


Above: CEO of Converge International, Dr Lindsay McMillan is a keynote speaker at the 2012 Better Boards Conference

By Keryn Curtis

Organisations whose boards are not actively and meaningfully engaged with their various stakeholders risk floundering and failing, according to a corporate governance expert.

The CEO of Converge International, Dr Lindsay McMillan, a keynote speaker at the forthcoming 6th Australasian Better Boards Conference 2012, warns that meaningful, high quality relationships between boards and their stakeholders are critical to an organisation’s success and should never be assumed.

He says the board is the custodian of all relationships between an organisation and its stakeholders and in this regard it is an element of board responsibility that should be properly prioritised and understood, not just paid lip service to. Yet frequently, he says, its importance is overlooked.

“Boards may proactively have an item on their agenda that asks how the board is going with relationships but often it goes like this,” says McMillan.

“Someone asks the question, so how are we going in our relationship with the government, for example. How’s that relationship?  And someone else will answer the question with a list of all the people and organisations they have on their network list and say, the relationship is going really well.  And the person who asked the question will say, great.”

“But that’s no indication of the quality of a relationship.  For instance, how often does the board communicate with that stakeholder?  And what forms of communication does the board use?  Is it by email, by phone or text?  Does the board ever meet in person with the stakeholder?  And if so, where?  In a coffee shop?  At their office?  Or yours?”

McMillan says boards need to have trusting relationships that are mutually beneficial to all partners and these kinds of relationships are not a given. 

“We commonly make wrong assumptions about some of the most fundamental things we do – like our relationships.  Many of us believe our relationships are intuitively driven but we need to look at them much more systematically, in the same way we look at our finances and other elements of our business,” he says.

“Numerous case studies indicate that the most fundamental driver of a successful board and its functioning is the quality of the relationships; the attention that is given to nurturing and preserving good will and the outcomes that emanate from those relationships.”

McMillan points to the outcome of the investigation into the Mexico Gulf oil spill disaster in April 2010 in which 11 people were killed and oil gushed into the ocean from a broken well-head for three months before it was finally capped.

“The fundamental cause of that disaster was a breakdown in relationships between the five major companies involved and their respective boards. They all believed that the relationships were intact and working well and clearly this was not the case.”

McMillan says his presentation on this topic at the Better Boards conference will provide delegates with an effective ‘lens’ for analysing and measuring the effectiveness of the relationships between board directors and their stakeholders.

“It’s called the ‘relational paradigm’ and essentially it’s a lens for evaluating these relationships across five measures which are qualities that must be present for a relationship to thrive.  

“For example questions that will be addressed are: Do you practice directness in an encounter? How strong is the continuity of relationship over time? How deep is the shared commitment among the board?

McMillan says that strong stakeholder management is critical to achieving successful outcomes in the not for profit sector.

“We need a strong relational board with strong relationships with its stakeholders.  And we need to work at building the relationships of trust.  Some commercial boards around the world, notably in South Africa and the UK, are saying they need to measure the quality of the relationships as stridently as they measure their financial results.

“In the not for profit sector it all comes back to relationships because that’s the value and what binds us together. And the research is clear: high functioning boards will have high functioning relationships. In the future, successful organisations will need to ensure their relationships with their stakeholders, their fellow directors and executive teams are intact and transformational.”

Exclusive offer for AAA enews readers:

AAA is exclusively giving away three registrations for the Better Boards Conference at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre from 27-29 July 2012.  We have one seat to give away today for the CEO Day , an adjunct event for the conference, on Friday 27 July.  Already sold out, this is a day of presentations and discussions specifically for chief executive officers, executive officers, general managers, managing directors and executive directors. As well as providing thought provoking keynote presentations and panel discussions, the day will have a strong networking focus, and will aim to create quality opportunities for chief executive officers to discuss issues, ideas and solutions together.

If you are a chief executive officer, executive officer, general manager, managing director or an executive director and you would like to be in the running to attend the CEO Day on Friday 27 July, please use the comment box  below this story, to provide your name, position and the name of your organisation.   A randomising program will be used to decide the winner, who will be notified by email on Thursday 31 May.  

AAA will be giving away two registrations for the conference proper –  the weekend of 28-29 July – in the next week.  

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0 Responses to Schmoozing stakeholders – exclusive CEO giveaway

  1. Ross Peden May 30, 2012 at 1:31 am #

    Ross Peden
    CEO
    Christadelphian Aged Care
    NFP in aged care industry

  2. Greg Mundy May 30, 2012 at 8:29 am #

    The Council of Ambulance Authorities

  3. Kathy Goldsack May 30, 2012 at 9:47 am #

    As a fairly new CEO I would love to attend the CEO day. I carry out the dual role of CEO/DON as do many in Rural areas and it is always a battle to keep up the learning for both positions and this day would be very beneficial to me and to my Home.

    Riverview Lutheran Rest Home

  4. Kathy Goldsack May 30, 2012 at 9:49 am #

    Riverview Lutheran Rest Home, Loxton, SA

  5. Matthew Cragg May 30, 2012 at 9:52 am #

    CEO – Warrina Homes Incorporated
    Aged Care Services – Residential Care & Retirement Living

  6. Joanne Gell May 30, 2012 at 9:53 am #

    Ballarat District Nursing and Healthcare

  7. Christina Widuckel May 30, 2012 at 10:04 am #

    CEO of Colbrow Healthcare, an on-hire nursing recruitment company, expanding into aged care in the home.

  8. Jim Purcell, Executive Manager May 30, 2012 at 10:12 am #

    Goodwin Aged Care Services Limited CANBERRA

  9. Amanda Bowe May 30, 2012 at 10:29 am #

    Amanda Bowe, CEO Healthcare at Home Australia

  10. David Fenwick May 30, 2012 at 10:52 am #

    Amaroo Care Services, Gosnells WA

  11. Adj Prof John G Kelly AM May 30, 2012 at 11:01 am #

    CEO of Aged & Community Services Australia – the national peak body which ACSA plays a vital role as the voice of aged care providers, undertaking policy development and advocacy in public and political arenas.

  12. Alexis Watt May 30, 2012 at 11:03 am #

    Silver Chain group (incorporating RDNS SA and YourLife Health & Learning Inc)

  13. Ann Bourke May 30, 2012 at 11:23 am #

    I very much believe in relationship building with our community, clients, staff and Board. It is essential that opportunities like this are available for CEO’s and Boards to ensure a productive and governance focused role.

  14. Dr Ralph Hampson May 30, 2012 at 5:36 pm #

    Would love the opportunity to attend the CEO day. Thanks Ralph Hampson 0425172983

  15. Yvonne Chin May 31, 2012 at 11:11 am #

    I love to attend the CEO Day. I am the CEO of Elderly Australian Chinese Homes in NSW. We run the Castle Hill Aged Care Home, CACPs, cluster housing for the aged, a long day care centre centre and a day activity in Sydney Metropolitan.

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