Board Directors Get Emotional Over Governance

For the third consecutive year, board directors and senior executives from the region have gathered in Saint Lucia to participate in the Caribbean Governance Training Institute’s annual conference on Hot Topics in Corporate Governance. This year’s experts, led by Dr. Chris Bart, explored the impact of director behaviour on the effectiveness of board governance. This included introducing delegates from Turks and Caicos, Grenada, Dominica, Antigua, St. Kitts and Saint Lucia to the importance of having a healthy boardroom culture, where the complex issues faced by organisations require a different style of leadership more than ever before. Faculty included: Dr. Gregory McQueen, an applied ethicist who advises world leaders and Dr. Phil on moral reasoning; Dr. David Kunsch, an expert in critical thinking and ‘deviant’ board behaviours; Dr. Min Basadur, a global expert on creative problem solving, who has consulted with major international organisations from Google to Pfizer; and Dr. Steven Stein, internationally renowned author of “Emotional Intelligence For Dummies” and consulting psychologist to the Amazing Race, Big Brother and other reality TV shows.

Over the course of two days, delegates saw another side of ‘being on the board’, and experienced their own personal journey through an onslaught of challenging questions, conflicting choices and self-analysis exercises. Although there is no “one size fits all” solution to the issues of governance, every session spoke to the importance of taking the behavioural tools provided by the Hot Topic Conference and personalising them to suit each individual and each board.

CGTI personnel with jubilant delegates at the annual Hot Topics Conference.

CGTI personnel with jubilant delegates at the annual Hot Topics Conference.

After a slew of lessons learned – like how to use clear, unambiguous language in the boardroom and how to collaborate when competing perspectives get in the way of good decision- making – the delegates left the third Hot Topics Conference in elated mood. They had discovered easy-win opportunities to take back to their organisations, as well as an understanding that changing the existing culture takes time, patience and an appreciation of diverse points of view.

Among the delegates, Julie Bonnett, Human Resource Director at Renwick and Company in Saint Lucia, said, “I found it to be very enlightening; we were given practical examples and useful tools to bring back to our board. I’m excited about that and I’m sure my company will want to implement some of the ideas immediately.”

CGTI Chairman Dr. Chris Bart was delighted with the success of the event. He closed the conference by announcing the launch of The Caribbean Institute of Directors (CIoD), an organisation uniquely tailored to the needs of Caribbean boards, directors and senior executives. Lisa Charles, CEO of the Institute and founding partner of CGTI added: “Our conversations with corporate executives and delegates make it clear that the need for this Institute is essential. The Caribbean Governance Training Institute will contribute significant start-up funds and expertise in key areas of corporate governance. In addition, we have leading experts and advisors in the creation and development of high performance boards”. After only three years, Saint Lucia-based CGTI is emerging as the premier governance training provider in the region, evidenced by some of the big name clients that have signed up for their programmes. Currently all members of the Board of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank have taken the Chartered Directors (C.Dir.) course, and Sandals International has engaged two groups of executives in Jamaica including Deputy Chairman and CEO of the company, Adam Stewart.

As Dr. Chris Bart says: “CGTI exists to change the way governance emerges in the Caribbean region. It’s a game of inches, but we are confident in the CGTI faculty’s skill, expertise and knowledge to provide the right training, thereby ensuring that the quality of board governance in the region continues to improve and strengthen.

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