Boards That Dare: How to Future-proof Today's Corporate Boards by Marc Stigter and Sir Cary Cooper

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Boards That Dare: How to Future-proof Today's Corporate Boards by Marc Stigter and Sir Cary Cooper

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Category: Business and Finance
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: A very readable look at what boards of directors must do if they are to emerge successfully from the coming decades. Highly recommended - and not just for directors.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 240 Date: March 2018
Publisher: Bloomsbury Business
ISBN: 978-1472938060

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I wasn't optimistic when I started reading Boards That Dare. I feared that I would encounter new ways of minimising tax liabilities, of getting as much as possible out of employees whilst paying them the legal minimum and constant reminders that the shareholders own the company and of the necessity of maximising their return. In the event I was only a few pages in before I discovered that I couldn't have been more wrong, that we were looking at ways of future proofing the company. I began to feel hopeful...

Rather than looking at short-term gains we're looking at making enduring improvements. It's simplistic to sum up the case for future proofing by saying that a company shouldn't do anything which is going to cause adverse publicity when it becomes public knowledge but it's only necessary to look at how people regard the major companies (Amazon, Starbucks, et al - are you listening?) who have entered into schemes to minimise their tax liabilities. It's pointless to maintain that what they are doing is legal - their potential customers know that what they are doing is morally wrong. From personal experience I can confirm that the effects of corporate scandals are long lasting: outrage against Nestlé because of their violation of ethical codes with regard to the marketing of infant formula began in the nineteen seventies. I've avoided their products for well over a decade and see no reason to change my attitude.

It obviously doesn't come down to a statement that boards shouldn't do anything silly for short-term gain. It does come down to the composition of the board. Individual members and the board as a whole require a moral compass, ability, understanding and desire, but most of all they need courage. Marc Stigter and Sir Cary Cooper have the background, knowledge and experience and take you through each individual step and perhaps the highest praise which I can give is that they make it seem very possible, if not easy.

It is an easy read though. There's as little as possible in the way of jargon and what there is is dealt with in the glossary with the exception of 'c-suite' which I had to google. I could probably have read it through in one sitting, but I found so much that was thought provoking, so much that I wanted to discuss or relate to another context. It would be a pity if the book was only read by current directors: if you're in the position of forming a board it should be required reading. If you've been approached with an offer you should read Boards That Dare before making a decision. I'd go further too and suggest that anyone running an unincorporated business would do well to read the book, as would someone chairing a committee.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

Shelve the book alongside The Independent Director: The Non-Executive Director's Guide to Effective Board Presence by Gerry Brown. You might also gain from reading Why Women Mean Business by Avivah Wittenberg-Cox and Alison Maitland.


Buy Boards That Dare: How to Future-proof Today's Corporate Boards by Marc Stigter and Sir Cary Cooper at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Boards That Dare: How to Future-proof Today's Corporate Boards by Marc Stigter and Sir Cary Cooper at Amazon.co.uk


Buy Boards That Dare: How to Future-proof Today's Corporate Boards by Marc Stigter and Sir Cary Cooper at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Boards That Dare: How to Future-proof Today's Corporate Boards by Marc Stigter and Sir Cary Cooper at Amazon.com.

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