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Why the current crisis is a matter for boards to address and not just to ‘leave up to’ operations

We are seeing unprecedented changes to the way the world and the world of work and business works. While these changes are often of a tactical or operational nature – and these changes are certainly urgently needed– the fundamental issues that this crisis is raising are ultimately issues of governance and not just operational issues or activities.

What do I mean by this?

Whereas operations deals with the day to day running of things – and the way we do things has to change in many ways, governance deals with the ‘whole’ of the business and not just the activities of the business, and the way the ‘whole’ will operate going forward is bound to change.

What does the whole consist of?

The ‘whole’, and a governance perspective on the ‘whole’ essentially consists of understanding both the parts that constitute a business as well as how these parts relate to one another in order to facilitate the processes or flows within the business. Unless we recognise that there are going to be some fundamental changes, in not just our activities, but also in the ways our businesses are constructed (parts and relationships), both through this crisis but more importantly beyond this crisis we will focus on the wrong things.

Boards need to address the governance of the business to ensure that while there is activity aimed at mitigating the core risks within the business there is also an investment of time and thinking into what the ‘whole’ of the business could and should look like during and beyond this crisis.

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