InterSearch Worldwide and Board Network – The Danish Professional Directors Association have jointly launched an Annual Board Survey among 1000+ Board Members from 55 countries globally. Diversity of respondents include 77% men & 23% women from every imaginable industry, all sizes of companies up to USD 20+ Billion per year and all kinds of ownership structures.
Results clearly show that Boards have embraced a clear attitude towards change, starting from considering “Innovation”, “Digitalization”, “Sales and Customers” as much higher priorities for the future rather than “Audit & Tax” and “Remuneration & Nomination”.
“Clearly, with these priorities, boards are now appreciating and acknowledging that boards’ tasks are not just to safe-guard, control and supervise – but also to engage in the company’s future and in how value is created. Boards have obviously decided that the time for only looking in the rear-view mirror is over – time has come to steer the companies with full use of also the front windscreen, the sideview mirror, the gearshift, the speeder – and obviously, every now and then, also the brakes,” commented Jakob Stengel, Global Head of the InterSearch Board Practice, Founder & Chairman of Board Network in Denmark.
On the same wave, “Disruptive & exponential technologies” is undoubtedly the megatrend - seen by more than 78% as one of the top 3 trends.
When it comes to predicting company’s financial future in the next 24 months, boards across the globe are very optimistic. More than 75% expect the next 2 years to show a better financial development compared to the previous 2 years.
Boards are no longer just expecting the challenges of tomorrow to be identical to those of yesterday: a comparison between challenges in the previous 24 months and the coming 24 months; respondents expect 50% of future challenges to be lead by different Product and / or Business Model innovations.
When asked to name one competency they would like to add to the existing board, “IT / Digitalization” wins again with 24%. “Innovation / R&D” comes second, and “Customer / consumer orientation and understanding” is highlighted as a megatrend in third place by the global survey results.
A hot topic of Board rooms today; the survey analysed whether the increasing focus on Board Diversity had an effect on how boards are composed, as well as what kind of diversity has been sought to add to the board. 73% of women respondents personally support gender quotas to improve the gender balance in the boardroom compared to 31% of men surveyed.
Compared to 20% of last year’s survey, this year 25% think that their board’s performance could improve; suggesting potential drivers to improve performance would be “Better understanding of the company’s position and strategy” and “More effective mix of competencies on the board”.
“Our Board yearly survey is an excellent tool for all our members dealing with Board search and Board practices. Self-evaluation is an excellent tool for modern boards, but requires a thorough analysis by highly skilled consultants able to reconcile all strategic focal areas and advise how to achieve the expected results in the most effective way,” added Peter Waite, Chairman of the InterSearch organization.