Last week, NXTBoard sponsored the FOX Fall Enterprise Forum in Chicago. Founded in 1989, FOX (Family Office Exchange) was the first membership organization to bring together family members, family office executives, and trusted advisors.

During the event we had the opportunity to talk with some of FOX’s members about the pains they feel in managing their day-to-day as well as in planning for the future. We were also lucky enough to sit in on some thought-provoking presentations including one on global macro trends from Austin Kimson, Co-Founder and Senior Economist at Bain and Company and one on navigating uncertainty by building vision given by Robert C. Wolcott, Ph.D., clinical professor of innovation and entrepreneurship from the Kellogg School of Management. 

The takeaways from our conversations and the presentations were fascinating. And they are things that businesses and organizations of all sizes in all industries should be aware of. In this blog post I wanted to share three key observations through the lens of how our board portal platform can help you be prepared.  

1. Resilience is needed to stand the test of time

We are about to experience a period of change that Bain is calling “the Great Transformation.” The growth of service-sector automation, demand-constrained growth and the end of supernormal labor growth are just some of the causes of this coming period of upheaval that will see financial and macro volatility, a massive boom-bust cycle and a shifting role of the state in the marketplace. 

With big changes imminent, it’s more important than ever for Family Offices, boards and leadership teams to make sure they have the right processes in place to ensure their organizations can keep up with the pace of change and be prepared so that they can stand the test of time.

FOX president, Alexandre Monnier put forward a framework to build a sustainable family enterprise where the issues to be addressed are:

  • Family commitment and alignment
  • Shared vision for the future
  • Enterprise goals and risks
  • Governance and leadership
  • Learning and leadership development

These issues are not limited to Family Offices. They are about strategic planning and how organizations need to implement good governance, define a shared mission and vision with outcomes that align to that vision and mission, and set SMART goals that can be progress monitored to achieve those outcomes.

Simply put, if you want to make sure your organization is prepared for the future and the changes to come, you can’t wing it. You need to plan ahead. And that planning needs to be led from the top at board level – it’s not something that can be delegated. That’s where you should be looking for a board portal that can help you go beyond board management by offering features that can help with your strategic planning and reporting

2. Succession planning is critical

Whether you’re a Family Office looking to bring the next generation up-to-speed or on a board with a high level of turnover, succession planning, or onboarding of new board members is critical. Especially when the next few years are looking so volatile.

Expecting the next generation, or new board members, to get up to speed without pre-established processes slows everyone’s productivity, drives up costs and jeopardizes the goals you’ve worked so hard to set. New board members end up feeling overwhelmed because they are unsure about their roles and responsibilities, and how and where to get started. Existing board members and stakeholders wonder why it’s taking so long for new board members to get up to speed, creating mistrust and frustration.

There is a better way. Family offices and boards can use tools and technologies such as the NXTBoard platform to establish an effective and consistent succession plan or orientation process so everyone can continue to work efficiently and effectively towards the Family, or boards’, vision and mission.  

3. The importance of trust

Today, trust is as valuable a commodity to your organization as the service(s) or product(s) that you provide. We are living in an era of consumer mistrust, and those organizations that can build or demonstrate trust to their consumers are the ones that will build loyalty which is critical for long term success and resilience.

Like most things, trust starts from the top. But at board or executive level we tend to call it accountability. Accountability is dependent on transparency – transparency between board, or family members, and transparency of activity to key stakeholders.

Again, tools and technologies can help provide transparency and therefore increase accountability or build trust. A board portal can provide the executive team with the ability to establish, adopt, monitor and report on objectives and progress with transparency and accountability. And it can give all stakeholders clear insight into the role of the board and the time they value to focus on outcomes and results.

 

A board portal should provide you with more than just helping your board prepare for its next meeting. While the technology can be great for helping make that process much easier, boards and Family Offices should be leveraging board software for so much more including making sure that their organization is prepared for the future, whatever that may hold. If you’re interested in finding out more from one of our Family Office representatives, contact us.