Aligning the Board with the Strategy Map

Article excerpt

THE board sends a clear and powerful signal that it takes the strategy map seriously by tweaking its own protocol to help ensure oversight focused on strategy execution.

The board protocol simply documents how the board organizes itself to carry out its functions. It reflects the manner in which it acts on the priorities it considers important. Thus, after it formally adopts and approves the strategy map, the first important consequent step it takes is to review its board protocol, and to introduce the necessary changes into it so as to better enable it to oversee strategy execution most effectively.

In making these changes, the board may decide to adopt the governance framework with its stress on these key perspectives: Learning and growth; internal process; serving its constituencies; and finance.

Under "learning and growth," the changes the board may consider should be those reflecting its answers to these questions: How do we secure the diversity of expertise and knowledge appropriate to the demands of overseeing strategy execution? What training and continuing education program must we undergo; and What further steps do we take to ensure fuller engagement and deeper involvement of every member of the board in our deliberations and decision-making processes?

Furthermore, under "internal process," the board must set up the appropriate board committees that focus on ensuring its oversight over key functions. An audit committee is an absolute "must"; so is a risk management committee; and increasingly, the functions of nomination, director education, performance evaluation, and remuneration are put together under a governance committee in order to moderate the multiplication of board committees. In some instances, depending on need, the board may set up a few specialized committees related to the two or three strategic themes in the strategy map. …