Prepare your board on ways to protect your organizations' reputation | Risk Advisory | Deloitte

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How can boards protect and enhance the organization's reputation?

Directors' Alert 2018

How is your board involved with protecting and enhancing your organizations’ reputation? Hear from several Deloitte business leaders and independent global directors as they examine strategies boards can pursue to protect and enhance their organizations’ reputation in today’s hyper-connected world.

Governance topics boards will be focused on

Boards have a critical role to play in enhancing company reputation. Our 2018 edition of Directors’ Alert highlights governance topics that boards around the world will be focused on in the coming year—including key strategies boards can pursue to protect and enhance their organizations’ reputation:

  • The missing link in CEO succession planning: Organizational culture
  • Exercising oversight of digital innovation: How boards can keep pace
  • Strengthening the link between strategy and risk appetite: How the board can lead the way

Prepare your board on ways to protect your organizations’ reputation by downloading Deloitte’s Global Center for Corporate Governance’s Directors’ Alert.

Directors' Alert 2018

How boards can protect - and enhance - reputation

This is an exciting time to serve on a board. Although the risks to organizations perhaps have never been greater, the opportunities to make a positive impact - both for the organization and for society at large - have never been greater, either.

This publication looks at reputation and the board's role in protecting and enhancing it. An organization's reputation is among its most valuable assets, and risks to reputation are increasing steadily. In today's hyper-connected world, information - whether positive or negative - travels at warp speed. Both the board and management must do all they can to stay ahead of threats to reputation.

Currently, boards are not only looking for ways to protect reputation but also for ways to enhance it. They realize that enhancing reputation is itself a protective measure: the more trust stakeholders have in the organization and its brands, the more resilient its reputation will be. An organization with a resilient reputation can better withstand reputation-impacting events, and control the conversation more effectively when those events occur.

While reputational sensing and assessment tools within the organization are essential, so is leadership from the board. That leadership is occurring. For example, boards are now asking whether management is taking enough of the right risks in the right areas to achieve strategic goals. They are asking whether the culture supports achievement of strategic goals, and whether the CEO is promoting the desired culture. They are asking whether the organization is cultivating a reputation as an innovator or as a laggard - the disruptor or the disrupted.

The answer to these questions make a difference when it comes to enhancing reputation but also in attracting (and retaining) talent, business partners, and investors. 

A proactive approach to organizations' reputation

Most leadership teams - boards and management - need to look at reputation proactively through scenario playing and wargaming. They need to develop greater strategic flexibility to be able to pivot as quickly as risks and opportunities evolve. They need to monitor closely and tie risks to reputation and the organization's ability to respond to reputation-impacting events. They need detailed digital strategies that enable them to invest at the right levels in initiatives that will support their strategic goals.

Forward-thinking boards are working to ensure that their oversight efforts keep pace with these needs. This process start with board awareness of all the elements critical to succes, including strategy, risk, leadership, culture, innovation, and reputation. It continues with robust engagement with management en flows through to management's plans and initiatives.

In addition to continually updating their oversight efforts, boards must harness technologies to support those efforts. These may include analytical, data visualization, artificial intelligence, or other technologies that increase the board's - and management's - awareness of strategic options and outcomes, risks, and culture and conduct in the organization.

As long as directors keep abreast of emerging methods and technologies and remain vigorously engaged in their oversight responsibilities, the path forward shines bright.

More information?

For more information about Strategic & Reputation Risk, please contact Wim Eysink or Arjan ten Cate via their contact details below.

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