Articles written By Julie Garland McLellan
Julie is one of very few women to have commenced a board career with a single not-for-profit organisation and built it to a portfolio of boards including chairing an ASX listed company. Julie has chaired boards and committees and is respected for her practical experience. A frequent speaker at conferences, Julie is also a prized reference for journalists and has featured in ABC News’ Nightly Business Report, The Business Programme, The Australian Financial Review, The 1 of 4 Financial Times (Britain), Company Director Journal, Keeping Good Companies, and other quality publications. Julie has also more than 20 years’ experience delivering education programs for the Australian Institute of Company Directors and has written more than 14 courses for that institute. She has also developed and delivered director education for the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD), Director Institute, Governance Institute of Australia, College of Laws, University of Sydney, CPA Australia, The Taiwan Corporate Governance Association, The Oman Centre for Corporate Governance and Sustainability, and Better Boards Ltd. In addition to her work developing director education Julie has continued to research and study directorship and most recently completed a course at Wharton Business School at the University of Pennsylvania.
Julie is the author of several reference books for company directors including two that have been translated into Mandarin and are the global best sellers in their topic category. As a mentor, Julie has worked with company directors and chairs to help them to build the success they desire in the boardroom. She is experienced in not-for-profit and volunteer board issues and has supported CEOs in addressing challenging board situations, including regulatory intervention, solvency challenges, and staffing issues.
The Elephant in the (Board)Room
In almost every survey of boards, directors reveal that they are unhappy with the performance of one or more of their boardroom colleagues. They usually then continue to reveal that their board has done nothing to remedy the poor performance. For example, the 2018 PwC Annual Corporate Directors Survey showed that 45% of directors believed that one or more of their board colleagues should have been replaced. The McKinsey Global Governance Survey2 showed that 67% of directors served on a board where one or more directors should have been removed.
How Cost Effective is Your Board?
The job of the board is to direct. That involves making decisions about what to do, how to organise, and who to engage with to further the purpose of the organisation. Those decisions, if taken reasonably and well, will require management support. Increased demands for governance reporting and enhanced diversity will impact not-for-profit company boards in many ways. The three of the most feared are: a possible imposition of direct board costs as new independent professional directors demand recompense for the time, effort and risk involved in the role the increased cost of servicing a larger board, especially in the crucial first few months of each appointment when directors’ demands for information are often at their highest the ever growing costs of providing reports requested or expected by external stakeholders that are diligently reviewed by the board yet add little value to their decision-making.