CEO Memo — Building the Institute’s new strategy

One of the joys (and greatest challenges) a CEO can face is working with the board, members and staff to build the organisation’s strategy. How do you balance the short-term targets across a single financial year, versus the long-term goals that define its long term sustainability? What is the purpose of Governance Institute? What can it be one day?

More importantly, what do you, the members want it to be?

After 12 years leading Consult Australia in the infrastructure sector, I am conscious that Governance Institute is a different beast. It’s a different market, with different members, goals, opportunities and challenges. I also have the advantage of being a director at Standards Australia, and a director of CEDA, providing board level guidance on the development of those organisation’s strategies across similarly different markets.

While I discussed much of my methodology behind building a new strategy at our annual general meeting on May 3, it is important for those not present to hear the plan.

Firstly, I’m not the kind of leader who likes to work in the backroom with a closed network of secret advisers, playing my cards close to the chest. It is important to me to involve all of you, not just the leadership team. I love to talk through new ideas.

I am also a firm believer in creating an organisational strategy once, with input from as many stakeholders as possible and stress-testing it for flexibility. It has to constantly roll, evolve and morph over the years to suit the association’s needs as they arise. It cannot be rigid. We are bouncing around a few new ideas, but this is the roadmap I’m following for Governance Institute.

I started my ‘strategy tour’ back in April working closely with the state councils and committees and our staff to get feedback on their policy and strategic priorities — where Governance Institute’s strengths lay, its weaknesses, what we needed to build on and where the opportunities for growth are. Everyone has been very forthright with lots of thoughts and ideas, and this is very important. Thank you.

We are an association built around governance excellence and expertise, and it is important that our own strategy reflects that same high-quality standard.

That learning phase is now over. This initial analysis was taken to the board for their input and feedback post-AGM, and the next step is a formal strategy planning weekend in July to incorporate all these elements.

No surprises, the aim is to then take a draft strategy back to you, the membership, for your thoughts in September. Please make sure you take the time to offer your feedback. We are an association built around governance excellence and expertise, and it is important that our own strategy reflects that same high-quality standard.

Once the overall national strategy is finalised, this then goes to the State Councils for their own regional strategic planning sessions. This in particular is very important to me. The Governance Institute is strong when our states as strong. I want to better take advantage of the unique opportunities offered by each region.

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I expect our overall strategic and operational plans, policy strategy, state strategies and budget will all be confirmed in November and ready to roll for January 2020.

Phew! Did I make that sound easy? Nope. We are working to very tight timeframes. But nothing worthwhile ever comes easy. This process needs to be thorough, to lay a strong foundation for our association’s growth long term.

I hope this has given you all a firm timeline on where we are going next, and how you can provide your skills and expertise into the process. Please don’t pass up this opportunity to do so.

As a final note — Governance Institute is ramping up for our two big events of the year, the Governance and Risk Management Forum across each state in June, and our National Conference in Sydney in September.

Our team has done a fantastic job with the keynote speakers in each state for GRMF, so please have a look at your local line-up and take part. We have regional experts tackling issues relevant to your market. These events are invaluable for developing new skillsets, networking opportunities and getting the most out of your association membership.

National Conference has locked in two blockbuster keynote speakers that you can’t see anywhere else — Sir Winfred Bischoff, chairman of JP Morgan and the Financial Reporting Council UK and Madelyn Antoncic from The Sustainable Accounting Standards Board in the US. Very exciting.

Both of these events are absolutely essential for any governance professional who wants to stay on the bleeding edge of future thought leadership. They will cover everything from strategies for dealing with regulators, to climate change disclosure, and the disruptive effects of new technology.

I’ll be at each, hope to see you all there for chat.

PS. As a massive Game of Thrones fan, I’m a bit sad the show is over — but I had a good laugh at a light-hearted blog our Engagement team put together, ‘Nine key governance learnings from Game of Thrones’. Have a read and let the team know what you think on the Governance Institute social media channels — LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

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