Board Di­rec­tors Get Emo­tional Over Gover­nance

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - By Dee Lundy-Charles

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.

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 startup 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.

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

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