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Highlights from KPMG’s Corporate Governance Board Summit

Recently, I participated in KPMG’s 12th Annual Audit Committee Issues Conference at the Ritz-Carlton in San Francisco. The event – Governance Challenges & Priorities Driving the 2016 Agenda – spanned two days and covered several pressing topics that corporate boards are currently facing and will encounter in the near future.

I had the pleasure of joining Ken Daly, CEO of the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD), and Tim Flynn, board director at J.P. Morgan and Walmart, on a panel titled, “Thinking Differently: The Changing Boardroom Conversation.” We had an interesting and candid dialogue on the changing role of boards and management teams amidst technology-driven seismic shifts in consumer behavior.
Here are two particularly important takeaways:
The need for an offensive – not simply a defensive – mindset
3A8A1354Tim spoke about the current challenges that corporate boards are facing and the need to balance the giving of insight versus oversight. Piggybacking on his comments, I discussed how in times like these of fast-paced disruptive innovation, boards and management teams must shift from a defense-only model, maintaining status quo core businesses, to also playing offense, taking risks, experimenting with new customer engagement models, and – above all – embracing technology. In regulated industries in particular, it’s all too easy to use regulatory compliance as an excuse, but the greatest risk of all is doing nothing.
The importance of shifting to new business models
In the face of these challenges, boards and management teams should not merely delegate social, mobile, and digital innovation to a designated “digital director” on the board or to IT or a social media marketing team and think they have it covered. Boards must instead personally understand and use these emerging technologies in order to experience the world as their customers and employees do, and think not only about creating Twitter pages, for example, but potentially entirely new business models spanning multiple channels that appeal to today’s always-connected, social customer over time.
To read more about KPMG’s conference, check out the full program.
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