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                为了应对新挑战,公司董事会需要更新思维方式

                为了应对新挑战,公司董事会需要更新思维方式

                Brian Stafford 2021年09月01日
                尽管我们很难清晰地预见,在“漫长的2020年”最终划上句号后,这个世界将呈现什么模样。但不可否认的是,它再也不会回归现状了。

                全美范围内对种族和社会正义的清算,只是重塑董事会责任的力量之一。图片来源:TAYFUN COSKUN—ANADOLU AGENCY VIA GETTY IMAGES

                在过去的18个月里,商业和非营利领域发生了翻天覆地的变化。这些变化酝酿已久,但新冠疫情、延续整个夏天的种族和社会清算运动、不断升级的网络攻击,以及持续加快的气候变化影响,显然促使这些变化加速到来。而它们对董事会如何运作,以及董事会如何与组织互动也有着深远的影响。

                根据我与首席级高管和董事会成员的交流,尽管我们很难清晰地预见,在“漫长的2020年”最终划上句号后,这个世界将呈现什么模样。但不可否认的是,它再也不会回归现状了。领导者现在必须缓解和管理一系列更广泛的风险。与此同时,我们再也不能仅仅以企业运营业绩或产品质量和价格作为评判领导者的标准。他们还必须在环境和社会影响、公司治理,以及多样性、公平和包容性(DE&I)方面达到更高的行为标准。

                利益相关者资本主义不再仅仅是商业圆桌会议(Business Roundtable)或商学院讲座的主题。在一定程度上,随着环境、社会和公司治理(ESG)投资的兴起,它正在成为一个快速发展的新现实。企业正在招聘首席多元化官,向服务不足的社区投资数十亿美元,并且在政府没有采取行动的情况下,主动为各自的供应链制定脱碳时间表。“光说不练”已经不够了。企业越来越需要衡量自身对社会的影响——而且需要实时衡量这种影响。

                董事会角色的根本性变化

                这些变化正在引领董事会成员进入一个新时代。它们至少从三个基本方面改变了成为一家上市或私营公司(在较小的程度上,还包括非营利组织)合格董事的条件:

                首先,董事会成员不再仅仅负责管理二元风险,即董事和首席级高管必须设法让企业避免那种可能导致企业在一夜之间垮台的风险。现如今,随着利益相关者的数量激增,董事必须遵守新出炉的标准,并驾驭各种风险,其中一些风险仍然会立即构成企业级威胁,而另一些风险的缓冲期貌似很长,但仍然不能忽视。

                对商业领袖来说,这种更广阔的视野也意味着那些坐在董事会中的人需要更广泛的专业知识和经验。在一定程度上,正是出于这个原因,Diligent公司一直通过现代领导力计划(Modern Leadership)来增强董事会的多样性和包容性。我们相信,它不仅仅是一个由价值观驱动的主张,而且是一项能够为高层和整个团队践行这一理念的企业带来价值的举措。

                第二,为了管理新的风险范畴,董事和首席级高管现在必须通过更广泛的指标来监管公司——其中当然包括财务指标,但也包括与ESG、DE&I以及其他影响领域相关的海量数据。有意义地定义这些影响领域的基准,使其不再囿于新闻通稿和大张旗鼓的企业社会责任努力,是现代董事会和监管机构现在面临的典型挑战之一。

                第三,随着相关指标和利益相关者激增,董事会和高管需要比以往任何时候都更广泛地在企业范围内设定目标,衡量落实进展,并报告合规情况。尽管作为现代董事会的一员并不意味着参与企业的实际运营,但它确实意味着要比以往任何时候都更深入地了解企业的方方面面。

                就私人企业而论,此类标准制定、能见度和合规性在今天显得尤为重要。私募股权在这一领域继续发挥着越来越大的作用。越来越多的私募股权基金有限合伙人要求其投资目标设定并满足真正的ESG和DE&I目标。借助这个前所未有的机会,私募股权有望催生真正的影响,并使私人公司在一个远比上市公司更短的时间内实现利益相关者资本主义。

                利益相关者资本主义和ESG时代的深远影响将远远超出我们今天的预期。我由衷地希望“现代董事会”将成为一个帮助我们实时分享和学习最佳实践的空间,以助力董事和首席级高管成就不凡事业,并为他们的公司,以及他们生活、工作和做生意的社区带来真正的影响。(财富中文网)

                本文作者布莱恩·斯塔福德是Diligent公司的首席执行官。

                编辑对本文有修改

                译者:任文科

                在过去的18个月里,商业和非营利领域发生了翻天覆地的变化。这些变化酝酿已久,但新冠疫情、延续整个夏天的种族和社会清算运动、不断升级的网络攻击,以及持续加快的气候变化影响,显然促使这些变化加速到来。而它们对董事会如何运作,以及董事会如何与组织互动也有着深远的影响。

                根据我与首席级高管和董事会成员的交流,尽管我们很难清晰地预见,在“漫长的2020年”最终划上句号后,这个世界将呈现什么模样。但不可否认的是,它再也不会回归现状了。领导者现在必须缓解和管理一系列更广泛的风险。与此同时,我们再也不能仅仅以企业运营业绩或产品质量和价格作为评判领导者的标准。他们还必须在环境和社会影响、公司治理,以及多样性、公平和包容性(DE&I)方面达到更高的行为标准。

                利益相关者资本主义不再仅仅是商业圆桌会议(Business Roundtable)或商学院讲座的主题。在一定程度上,随着环境、社会和公司治理(ESG)投资的兴起,它正在成为一个快速发展的新现实。企业正在招聘首席多元化官,向服务不足的社区投资数十亿美元,并且在政府没有采取行动的情况下,主动为各自的供应链制定脱碳时间表。“光说不练”已经不够了。企业越来越需要衡量自身对社会的影响——而且需要实时衡量这种影响。

                董事会角色的根本性变化

                这些变化正在引领董事会成员进入一个新时代。它们至少从三个基本方面改变了成为一家上市或私营公司(在较小的程度上,还包括非营利组织)合格董事的条件:

                首先,董事会成员不再仅仅负责管理二元风险,即董事和首席级高管必须设法让企业避免那种可能导致企业在一夜之间垮台的风险。现如今,随着利益相关者的数量激增,董事必须遵守新出炉的标准,并驾驭各种风险,其中一些风险仍然会立即构成企业级威胁,而另一些风险的缓冲期貌似很长,但仍然不能忽视。

                对商业领袖来说,这种更广阔的视野也意味着那些坐在董事会中的人需要更广泛的专业知识和经验。在一定程度上,正是出于这个原因,Diligent公司一直通过现代领导力计划(Modern Leadership)来增强董事会的多样性和包容性。我们相信,它不仅仅是一个由价值观驱动的主张,而且是一项能够为高层和整个团队践行这一理念的企业带来价值的举措。

                第二,为了管理新的风险范畴,董事和首席级高管现在必须通过更广泛的指标来监管公司——其中当然包括财务指标,但也包括与ESG、DE&I以及其他影响领域相关的海量数据。有意义地定义这些影响领域的基准,使其不再囿于新闻通稿和大张旗鼓的企业社会责任努力,是现代董事会和监管机构现在面临的典型挑战之一。

                第三,随着相关指标和利益相关者激增,董事会和高管需要比以往任何时候都更广泛地在企业范围内设定目标,衡量落实进展,并报告合规情况。尽管作为现代董事会的一员并不意味着参与企业的实际运营,但它确实意味着要比以往任何时候都更深入地了解企业的方方面面。

                就私人企业而论,此类标准制定、能见度和合规性在今天显得尤为重要。私募股权在这一领域继续发挥着越来越大的作用。越来越多的私募股权基金有限合伙人要求其投资目标设定并满足真正的ESG和DE&I目标。借助这个前所未有的机会,私募股权有望催生真正的影响,并使私人公司在一个远比上市公司更短的时间内实现利益相关者资本主义。

                利益相关者资本主义和ESG时代的深远影响将远远超出我们今天的预期。我由衷地希望“现代董事会”将成为一个帮助我们实时分享和学习最佳实践的空间,以助力董事和首席级高管成就不凡事业,并为他们的公司,以及他们生活、工作和做生意的社区带来真正的影响。(财富中文网)

                本文作者布莱恩·斯塔福德是Diligent公司的首席执行官。

                编辑对本文有修改

                译者:任文科

                Over the past 18 months, seismic changes have come to the business and nonprofit worlds. These changes were long in the making, but have been accelerated by the pandemic, a summer of racial and social reckoning, escalating cyberattacks, and accelerating climate change impacts. And they have profound implications for how boards of directors operate and interact with their organizations.

                Based on my interactions with C-suite leaders and board members, while much remains unclear about what the world will look like after the “long 2020” finally ends, it is undeniable there will be no going back to the status quo. Leaders must now mitigate and manage a broader set of risks while no longer being judged merely by their bottom-line performance or on the quality and price of their products. They must also meet a higher standard of conduct, in their environmental and social impact; their corporate governance; and in their diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts.

                Stakeholder capitalism is no longer merely a topic of declarations from the Business Roundtable or of business school lectures. In part fueled by the rise of environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) investing, it is a fast-evolving new reality. Companies are hiring chief diversity officers, investing billions in underserved communities, and, in the absence of government action, setting their own timetables to decarbonize their supply chains. Lip service is no longer enough. Increasingly, businesses need to measure their impact on society—and do so in real time.

                Fundamental changes to a board’s role

                Those changes and more are ushering in a new era of board membership. They’re changing what it takes to be an effective member of the board of a public or private company—and, to a lesser extent, a nonprofit organization—in at least three fundamental ways:

                First, board membership is no longer about managing binary risk, in which directors and the company’s C-suite executives are charged with avoiding make-or-break, enterprise risk that could bring down a company overnight. Today, with the proliferation of stakeholders, directors must comply with emerging new standards and navigate a spectrum of risk, with some still posing immediate enterprise-level threats while others play out on a longer fuse but nevertheless cannot be disregarded.

                This broader aperture for business leaders also means those seated in boardrooms need broader expertise and experience. It is one of the reasons greater diversity and inclusion in boardrooms, which Diligent has championed through our Modern Leadership initiative, is not just a values-driven proposition, but also a move that drives value for companies that embrace it at the top and throughout their ranks.

                Second, to manage the new spectrum of risk, directors and C-suites must now oversee companies across a broader range of metrics—financial metrics, of course, but also a plethora of data related to ESG, DE&I, and other areas of impact. Meaningfully defining benchmarks in these impact areas so they are more than press statements and amped-up corporate social responsibility efforts is one of the quintessential challenges facing modern boards—and regulators—today.

                Third, with the proliferation of relevant metrics and stakeholders comes the need for boards and C-suites to set objectives, measure implementation, and report compliance across a broader swath of the enterprise than ever before. Although being part of a modern board does not mean being operationally engaged in the business, it does mean having visibility deeper into more aspects of the business than ever before.

                Such standard-setting, visibility, and compliance are particularly important today when it comes to private companies, where private equity continues to play a bigger and bigger role. An increasing number of limited partners in PE funds are demanding that their investment targets set and meet real ESG and DE&I goals. This creates an unparalleled opportunity for private equity to drive real impact and make stakeholder capitalism a reality over a far shorter time horizon than can public companies.

                The era of stakeholder capitalism and ESG will have consequences that reach much farther than we can anticipate today. It is my hope that the Modern Board will be a space in which we can share and learn, in real time, best practices for directors and C-suite executives alike to succeed and thrive while delivering real impact for their companies as well as for the communities they live, work, and do business in.

                Brian Stafford is CEO of Diligent Corporation.

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