Boardroom Turbulence – Strap Yourself In for 2013

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Hello from Fay

I’ve been on the go, which makes sleeping in my own bed that much sweeter this holiday season.  As I think about 2012, my take-away for directors is “more than ever, your CEOs need your wisdom and provocative questions to support them in adjusting their thinking and strategy to a landscape of turbulence.”


Changes brought on in the past year from the digital revolution alone are accelerating business risks and opportunities.  Mary Meeker speaks to this in her 2012 KPCB Internet Trends Year-End Update.    She calls it “The Re-Imagination- of Nearly Everything.”


Mary MeekerThe “weapon of choice” in the digital revolution is proving to be the smart phone.  It provides stakeholders a tool to connect with like-minded individuals anywhere, any time.

This year, when speaking on social technology, I’ve been asking directors to think about issues from the constituent’s viewpoint (investors, customers and employees) for a start.  Broadening to stakeholders is the next level request.

I recently heard Mark T. Bertolini, Chairman, CEO & President, Aetna Inc., speak at the NACD Board Leadership Conference.  Yes, he has a Twitter account @mtbert, but that’s not the only reason I like him.  He spoke to the value of having the CEO be an active participant in the social conversation.  Here is a link to his session, which is a blueprint for the #SocialCEO.

We certainly expect our C-suite to align their messaging to demographics, but it is far more complex than it appears.  People are expressing their underlying attitudes and values in a variety of ways that are being expressed in the public domain on Twitter, Facebook, blogs, etc.

An expectation for CEOs is to listen, assess and, if appropriate, adapt to the feedback.  It reminds me of the first two steps in a risk management process: identify and assess.  I encourage directors to stop and consider ways they can help their CEO speak to values that define, strengthen and grow the company.

As a board leader, your agenda needs to allow time for the on-going, dynamic issues that are emerging that may not have been assigned to a committee:

  • Company culture and talent
  • Company brand and reputation
  • Opening communication channels from the outside/in
  • Sustainability and safety
  • Supply Chain
  • IT and social technology including cyber-risk
  • Diversity & Inclusion

I heard James Robinson, III speak in New York City at the NACD D100.  His message to business was simple: “To grow and sustain a successful enterprise, recognize that we are all in it together, act accordingly.”

So, how will your CEO use their time wisely in 2013?  I feel this recent article in the Wall Street Journal is a must-read.  If you’d like a copy of the full article, send me an email.

WSJ Investors

 What I know for sure is that in 2013, demanding investors will be using up a CEO’s scarcest resource, stealing time from customers, operations and strategy.  They will be increasing pressure to meet with your CEOs and you.

It will be important that investors are provided a quality interaction on the relevant topics at the right time.  Equipping CEOs to manage these demands translates to increased valuations and corporate growth.

The WSJ article quoted “C-level executives in North America topped the list, attending 70% of private investor meetings over the past year, up from 64% a year earlier. On average, CEOs and finance chiefs devoted 14 days and 17 days, respectively, to these meetings.  Most CEOs today cannot afford to decline a meeting request.”

This is where strategy, risk and opportunity intersect.  It is also an area I’m focused on for providing solutions.  My starting point is from the investor’s perspective.  If you’d like a peek into how it could support your CEO in enhancing their investor calls, let me know.


NACD BLC bright

My visit to Washington, DC for the NACD Board Leadership Conference gave me a chance to visit the office of Richard S. Levick, Esq., President & Chief Executive Officer, Levick.

We spoke together on a panel “Everything Directors Need to Know About Social Media.”  He kicked off the discussion with “We are leading businesses in a digital revolution, use your peacetime wisely.”

I am not accustomed to speaking of revolution in business, yet I am witness to one that is changing expectations on leaders.  Here is a recent video I made that speaks to how companies must identify ways to influence the conversations they simply cannot control.

I hope you will continue to be the catalyst in your organization to broaden the discussion on the agenda.  I want to thank my clients for their trust this year.  And to all who have made it this far, I send my sincere appreciation for your support.

Sending my wishes for happy holidays and a wonderful new year.  I’m grateful to be sharing the planet with you and living in such interesting times.

“The most serious mistakes are not being made as a result of wrong answers. The truly dangerous thing is asking the wrong question.” –Drucker

Listening vs noise

Risk for Good equips business leaders with a framework for interpreting the digital revolution. These emerging risks are being driven by social media, ESG investors and new business technologies. Along with the opportunities from these 21st century disruptions come new risks for the enterprise in the always-on, hyper-connected, diverse thinking world.

We enable client success by delivering big data analytics in a world where enhanced listening, communicating and transparency are critical for governing a sustainable, future-focused company.

Call Fay at 310-902-3727 or email her at to ensure your boardroom discussions are surfacing the right questions on emerging strategic opportunities (and risks.)
Fay Feeney
Risk For Good

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