Published articles

Governance Magazine articles – Socia Board roundtable conversations

Governance Magazine

Covid-19 and the Corporate Governance Code
As the Covid pandemic continues this is an unprecedented and worrying time for businesses. With Boards typically meeting by video conference, and facing radically different scenarios for their future, it’s time to examine the principles in the UK Governance Code and interpret them in the light of recent events to see how they can help guide effective Board actions.

Engaging Boards with Climate Change
When the latest UN climate change report says, ‘we have all procrastinated for too long’ and will need emissions cuts of 7.6% a year starting in 2020 to avoid wide-ranging and destructive climate impacts, we all need to listen. No board member can ignore these risks to the sustainability of their business. We look at the lessons boards have learned over the past year.

The role of the Senior Independent Director
Based on the discussions of a recent Round Table held with experienced board directors we look at the importance of the role played by a good SID.

What price climate change? (part 2)
For this column we gathered a group of Chairs and non-execs to discuss how their boards were currently engaging with the topic and what more could be done to bring it to the fore. But even before our meeting it’s clear that the international picture has moved on significantly in the intervening months.

What price climate change? (part 1)
In this column we discuss engaging company boards with climate change action planning and the fear of being a first mover. Research carried out at Imperial College highlighted the low proportion of boards listing climate change as a strategic risk in their annual report – and how few were debating climate risk reduction or mitigation at their board strategy day.

Will the new UK CG Code make a difference?
In this column we explore whether the proposed changes to the Code will have the desired effect and help to bolster public confidence in the quality of Board governance in UK corporations. Or could companies choose to abide by the letter of the new ‘slimmed down’ set of provisions and not respond to some of the more radical changes in the guidance notes that sits behind them.

The art of Chairmanship
In this column we discuss the art of Chairmanship – in its various forms. It’s clear that the Chairmen at our roundtable see their role as more art than science. Boards in different sectors and different industries make different demands on the way they manage the boundary between Executive Directors and NEDs. The core skills may not change but the art of chairmanship is in their application.

Joining the Board
In this column we hear the views of people who have recently made the step into the Boardroom. It can be quite a strange ‘through the looking glass’ experience where understanding the culture and the unwritten rules can be daunting at first. But there are some hints and tips about managing the transition to the boardroom whilst also retaining your sense of perspective and the new insights that can bring.

Programme Boards – a case for improvement
In this column we ask the question of our roundtable guests – why do programmes fail and what can programme Boards do about it? Major infrastructure projects can have the size and budget of a FTSE company, but don’t often have a governance structure to match. Could treating the Programme Board more like the Board of a joint enterprise help risks to be identified and managed more successfully?

Board evaluations – and how to get the best from them
In this the first in our series of Board roundtable conversation columns for Governance magazine we look at the question of how to get most value from a Board evaluation. And how an evaluation can look beyond the bureaucracy of board operation (essential though this is) and focus its attention on how well the board is equipped to listen to different perspectives and dissenting voices.

Other published articles

Recently published
Programme Boards – Governance magazine
Alex Cameron and David Archer argue that the boards responsible for delivering large public sector programmes could learn a lot and benefit from the experiences of UK plc in relation to evaluation and development.

Socia article on Board development for Financial Director website
When it comes to what makes company boards effective and what keeps directors awake at night, boardrooms are really not so different. By encouraging the use of a common framework for board evaluation – based on the FRC code – NEDs and executives can develop a common language to discuss the strengths, weaknesses and areas of risk for any board

One evaluation framework for all Boards?
After our successful Socia event in March where a panel debated the importance of evaluation in order to improve Board performance, Governance magazine has published an article by Alex and David which summarises the main messages from this discussion. The article summarises the highlights from the Socia survey which compared Boards across several different sectors. This along with the output of our debate presents an argument for all Boards to consider using the UK Governance Code as a basis for all Board evaluations.

Socia quoted in Sunday Times article on Boards and supply chain risks
David Archer from Socia was interviewed by Carly Chynoweth for a Sunday Times article on the need for Boards to understand and manage the risk in their supply chain.

Governance magazine: Evaluating and developing ‘not-for-profit’ and other non-PLC Boards
David Archer has written an article for the latest issue of Governance magazine on the challenges of leading and developing non-PLC Boards. In recent years there has been a rapid growth in the number of Boards set up to govern various Foundation trusts, Academy schools, Public Service Mutuals and other forms of organisation tasked with delivering significant aspects of our public services. Developing these Boards is complex task and in this article David discusses how lessons learned from the use of the UK Corporate Governance code to evaluate PLC Boards can add value to the development of these non-PLC Boards as well. This is a companion piece to the article by Socia’s Alex Cameron in the previous edition of Governance.

Governance magazine: Socia discusses a more effective approach to Evaluating Board Performance
Alex Cameron explains an approach to Board Evaluation that goes beyond the typical ‘tick box’ approach favoured by many Boards. This is the first of a pair of articles published in Governance magazine. The second article written by David Archer will develop the theme of Board development for non-PLC Boards.

Project Manager Today | One City: Two Stadiums – Lessons Learned in Megaprojects
How is it that two major projects, just a few miles apart in the same city, could result in such different outcomes? And what lessons can we learn for other megaprojects? David Archer and Alex Cameron, experts in organisational and change management across the PM space, discuss the issues raised by the comparative success and failure of the Olympic and Wembley Stadiums.

Project Manager Today: Being right doesn’t count… for much
Writing an Opinion column for Project Manager Today magazine, David Archer makes the case that in today’s highly interconnected world project managers need to be able to build relationships and take people with them – rather than just concentrating on finding the ‘right answer’ to a technical project delivery problem.

Financial Director
Book extract: The rise of interdependence. ON US Independence Day 1962, in a speech delivered in the hall where the American constitution was created, John F Kennedy chose as his subject not independence but interdependence. Or as he said – “not the individual liberty of one but the indivisible liberty of all”.

Governance & Compliance magazine
Collaborative leadership in the boardroom. David Archer and Alex Cameron consider the benefits of business interdependence and how to achieve truly collaborative leadership.

Cover story for European Oil and Gas magazine
Socia has written the cover story for the current issue of European Oil and Gas magazine. It is all about the challenges of identifying and managing relationship risk in the oil industry – and what this means for leaders. Many of the examples are taken from the chapter on risk on our latest book on collaborative leadership.

Journal of the Institute of Management Services article
United we stand… David Archer and Alex Cameron present the case for collaborative leadership when resources are tight.

Public Servant Magazine article
The greatest risks are at the boundaries.. Collaborative leadership can cultivate a healthy respect for risk without letting it turn into fear. That involves recognising that just as risks are magnified at a boundary, so is the potential for innovation, say David Archer and Alex Cameron

Rail Professional Today article
‘Collaborate to accumulate’, apt title of the strategy article in Rail Professional Today. David Archer and Alex Cameron believe that better collaboration can help build a stable foundation for a future UK rail strategy.

‘Collaborative leadership in the boardroom’, Governance magazine

Business leaders urged to collaborate with partners
Article on Collaborative Leadership in the FT by David and Alex

What makes a collaborative leader?
Read the article that HRzone have just published based on our new book.

A manifesto for collaborative leadership
Building strong relationships with partners inside and outside of your organisation has become a business necessity. David Archer and Alex Cameron, authors of Collaborative Leadership: Building Relationships, Handling Conflict, Sharing Control, set out their ‘manifesto’ for collaborative leadership in this article from the Institute of Leadership and Management’s on-line journal The Edge.

Highlights from our back catalogue
Tough times call for collaborative leaders
The paper analyses five areas of development for a collaborative leader with regard to conflict: understanding your own relationship to conflict; understanding the needs of groups; holding difficult conversations; finding the greater good; and mediating in other people’s conflict. In each case it proposes practical steps to help leaders and development professionals handle these issues.

The new frontier
In this issue of Public Service Magazine, Socia argue that public sector leaders are bringing together interconnected groups to deliver results across traditional boundaries.

The Collaboration Spectrum
Socia’s presentation on ‘The Collaboration Spectrum’ at The Academy for Justice Commissioning high profile seminar on 17th June, is featured in their newsletter.

When Times are Tough, Check Your Partners Measure Up
Business Leadership Review feature article on the book by David and Alex: Collaborative Leadership: How to succeed in an interconnected world …Across the public and private sector leaders are betting the future of their businesses on their ability to work in partnership and deliver results across boundaries…

The five key skills of Collaborative Leaders
Now that our book is published in the States, we were asked by Leadership Excellence to summarize the key skills of this particular collaborative approach Leadership which we believe is so important in these difficult and interdependent times. (See page 9 in the PDF)

The Rise of Collaborative Working
In an exclusive extract from their new book Collaborative Leadership, authors David Archer and Alex Cameron discuss Visa’s record-breaking IPO and how collaborative efforts can help stave off the direst predictions of climate change.

The Challenges of Collaboration
Collaborative leaders have to pull off a difficult balancing act: Respecting and valuing the differences of colleagues, while, at the same time, smoothing out some of those differences in the interests of making the business relationships work more efficiently. But the payoff is often business success now and in the future. It’s up to HR leaders to help make such collaboration occur.

Collaborative leadership in times of change
For leaders, employees or citizens the scale of our interdependence is ever more apparent, the connections are getting wider and the speed of impact ever quicker.

Building better relationships
David and Alex explain how they have applied the principles of MBTI to organisations.

Perfect Partners
David Archer explains why building collaborative leadership competence now will help prepare for the future

Train for collaboration
The railways sector is characterised by conflict between organisations operating in a fragmented industry, developing new leadership skills in collaboration can resolve the problems that result from the complex web of relationships.

How to… be a collaborative leader
Collaborative leadership can be developed in any organisation and it is seen as a vital skill-set in an increasingly interconnected world. Socia feature article in People Management.

Mistrust …makes long-term PFI contracts break down
Socia comments in FMX Magazine on PFIs

Forging successful procurement relationships
Socia has partnered with corporate law firm Pinsent Masons to explore the issues that can make or break a new contract in the first 100 days. This is the period when relationships are forged often under pressure. From very different perspectives, Socia and Pinsent Masons share how the procurement process and the contract can help or hinder the relationship building process.

Why PFIs go wrong – and how to make them work
Millions of pounds of public money are wasted because contractors charge unjustifiably high fees amending PFIs. And the problem, according to Socia, is a failure in leadership.

Making partnerships work
The quality of joint ventures and supply chain partnerships is critical to success in meeting targets. Alex Cameron looks at why partnering goes wrong and what to do about it.

Changing Culture in the Royal Parks
First published by the HRDIRECTOR magazine, Issue 44, February 08. Reproduced with permission.

Different cultures are a good thing
An article to which Socia contributed as part of an extensive report in The Financial Times (29 June 2007) about the future of collaboration, also reproduced in The Economist. It examines how cultural differences can impact the effectiveness of business partnerships.

Different cultures are a good thing

Why partnerships run aground
A piece in The Times (12 June 2007) which explores issues highlighted by Ipsos MORI’s survey into business partnerships (Times Online copy).

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