As today’s business landscape grows increasingly complex, organizations are tasked with evolving their governance practices to keep pace. Globalization, expanding regulations, and emerging technologies pose significant challenges for today’s organizations, but also present various opportunities. In the face of change and volatility, leading organizations are recognizing that good governance can actually be a competitive advantage—a practice we call modern governance.
Recognizing Today’s Modern Governance Leaders
Modern governance involves empowering today’s boards and company leaders with the technology, insights, and processes required for organizations to thrive and endure in the digital era. While modern governance is practiced by boards and management teams, it’s typically spearheaded by an internal champion—someone who recognizes that when company leaders have the right information at the right time, they make better decisions. And Diligent is recognizing these backstage heroes in a big way.
During the first-ever Modern Governance Summit, Diligent is launching the Modern Governance 100 program, which recognizes 100 hardworking governance professionals who are driving real change across their organizations. All recipients were nominated by board members, executives and fellow colleagues for an exemplary commitment to modernizing governance in their day-to-day role. Among the types of nominations we received:
- “[She] continues to innovate the format of our meetings.”
- “[He] has completely overhauled our approach to corporate governance over the last several years, resulting in a very efficient and effective process.”
- “[She] has a great sense of priorities around risk management. And she gives fearlessly good advice.”
- “[He] enables us to make important decisions with speed and precision.”
- “[She] navigates the strong personalities of the board members very well and knows when and how to challenge the business.”
- “[He] provides dispute resolution on board matters in a fashion that has garnered earned respect from all board members.”
- “[She] anticipates the needs of the board.”
These modern governance leaders assume many titles—from company secretaries, general counsels, and board administrators to chief compliance officers, chief operating officers, and paralegals. The common thread is the impact they’ve had across their organizations, and Diligent is proud to highlight this unique group of change agents.
Quantifying the Impact of Modern Governance
According to a May 2019 Diligent Institute report, recent “governance mishaps” occurring at 14 companies have cost shareholders $490 billion in value when measured one year later. Yet, the same report also delivers an important silver lining—namely, that companies with strong governance (top 20%) outperformed the bottom 20% by 17 points or 15% over a two-year period.
Diligent’s aspiration is to bring all companies into the “strong governance” bracket. To accomplish this, we’re putting powerful governance tools and intelligence at the fingertips of today’s boards and organizational leaders:
- Modern Governance 1.0: Diligent Launches a New Category
- Modern Governance 2.0: Announcing Governance Intel
- Modern Governance 3.0: Securing Your Most Important Files Beyond the Boardroom
- Modern Governance 4.0: Diligent Enables Global Compliance with Integrated Entity Management
- Modern Governance 5.0: Recognizing Change Agents in Corporate Governance
Modern governance can be simplified into a few basic principles: having the right people in the boardroom, having the right governance practices in place, having the right information at your fingertips, and equipping company leaders with a secure platform to communicate and collaborate. When organizations do these things well, the result is improved visibility and better decision-making. And there are few better positioned to drive these changes than today’s corporate secretaries and governance professionals.
Elevating the Governance Role
In a recent survey of governance professionals conducted by Diligent and the Governance Institute of Australia, we get a glimpse into the minds of these change agents and how they see their role evolving. Eighty-three percent of governance professionals said they expect their role to change over the next five years; among the key drivers were (1) complexity of the business environment, (2) regulatory changes, and (3) technological disruption. More broadly, however, the report characterizes the changes that are already underway:
“The company secretary role is evolving from a minute-taker to a thought leader; from a secretary to a trusted advisor; from someone who’s supplying answers to someone who’s proactively questions raising the right questions.”
Across the hundreds of nominations Diligent received, one thing was clear: as organizations rise to the challenges of the digital era, they need governance professionals who are strategic, who challenge the board where necessary, and who meet new obstacles with creative solutions. The demand for a trusted advisor has never been so high; today’s governance professionals can’t be afraid to fill that gap.
Congratulations to the inaugural Modern Governance 100! We look forward to highlighting many more exceptional governance professionals in the years to come.