High Performance Boards

Improving and Energizing your Governance
232 pages
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A comprehensive guide to transforming boards and achieving best-practice governance in any organisation.

When practising good governance, the board is the vital driver of organizational success, while fostering positive social impact and economic value creation. At all levels, executives around the world are faced with complexities rising from disruptive business models, new technologies, socio-economic changes, shifting political circumstances, and an array of other sources. High Performance Boards is the comprehensive manual for attaining best-in-class governance, offering pragmatic guidance on improving board quality, accountability, and performance.

This authoritative volume identifies the four dimensions, or pillars, which are crucial for establishing and maintaining best-practice boards: the people involved, the information architecture, the structures and processes, and the group dynamics and culture of governance. This methodology can be applied to any board in the world, corporate or non-profit organization, regardless of size, sector, industry, or context. Readers are introduced to a fictitious senior board member – an amalgamation of board members from well-known organisations – and follow her as she successfully handles real-life challenges with effective governance. Drawn from the author’s 20 years of practice and confidential work with boards across the world, this book:

  • Demonstrates how high-performance boards innovate and refine their practices
  • Discusses examples of board failures and challenges, including case studies from both for-profit and non-profit organisations including international organizations and state-owned agencies or even ministries
  • Provides a proven framework to create best-in-class governance
  • Includes a companion website featuring tools for board assessment and board practice

High Performance Boards has inspired more than 3000 board members around the world. This book is essential reading for professionals and managers interested in governance and board members, senior managers, investors, lawyers, and students of governance.

Advance praises

“It is a reasonable assumption that successful boards will share some common characteristics, as will failing boards. The challenge is to identify these factors before success or failure occur. This book, evidently based on Didier Cossin’s years of experience with boards around the world, goes a long way in doing so. The Four Pillars of Board Effectiveness will be an inspiration for many boards and their directors, as they consider how they can further strengthen their governance, enhance their effectiveness and ensure their success.” – Paul Bulcke, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Nestlé S.A. (Switzerland); Vice-Chairman, Board of Directors, L’Oréal (France); Member, J.P. Morgan International Council

“Professor Cossin has got it spot on. His four-pillared ‘temple’ of board effectiveness is brought to life with the boardroom adventures of Joanne Marker. Indeed his construct has two outer buttresses that centre around people. Their quality, focus, dedication and also how they interact with each other dynamically to produce a governance culture of excellence. One hopes that right-minded and passionate directors or would-be directors will read this book and say ‘I want to be a John or Joanne Marker when I grow up!’”Teo Swee Lian, Chairwoman, CapitaLand Mall Trust; Board Member of AIA, Singtel and Dubai Financial Services Authority; former Deputy Managing Director Monetary Authority of Singapore

“Didier Cossin brings huge direct experience to bear in his fascinating analysis of what makes a good board. Integrity, hard work, collegiality and independence of judgment matter hugely as personal attributes of board members as does a collective ability to focus on strategy, management support and risk in all its forms matters at the board level itself. And if that sounds easier said than done, read this book. This board member felt wiser and more daunted by the end.”Lord Mark Malloch-Brown, Chairman, SGO (UK); Board Member of Investec, Seplat Petroleum and Kerogen; former Deputy Secretary-General and Chief of Staff, United Nations; former Minister of State in the Foreign Office

“Didier Cossin’s book explains how Governance can be a key factor for companies’ success. It’s a must-read for all board members!” – Lorenzo Bini Smaghi, Chairman, Société Générale; Board Member, TAGES Holding

“What impressed me most is the comprehensive coverage of every aspect of board work in a way that is solidly grounded in every day’s practice in boardrooms around the world. As such, the book is a must read for every aspiring board member, but also has a lot to offer for even the most seasoned board member with a curiosity for learning and continuous improvement.” Gerard Kleisterlee, Chairman, Vodafone Group Plc; Deputy Chair and Senior Independent Director, Royal Dutch Shell; Chairman, ASML

“Thank you, Dr Cossin. Board members needed this book for a long time. This work will assist board members to understand their responsibilities better.”H.E. Dr. Mohammed bin Hamad bin Saif Al Rumhy, Minister of Oil and Gas, Sultanate of Oman; Chairman, Petroleum Development Oman; Chairman, OQ; Board Member, SGRF


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This book is part of a series
This book is part of a series

You can also buy the book on Barnes & Nobles, Book Depository, Orell Füssli and Routledge.

Discover our latest research
IMD's faculty and research teams publish articles, case studies, books and reports on a wide range of topics
Covid-19: Crash test des sociétés bien gouvernées
By Didier Cossin and Pascal Botteron
in L’association française des investisseurs institutionnels 27 April 2020
Governance has often been neglected because it is so difficult to quantify what is good governance. One of the only reliable and recognized measures of the quality of good governance in academic literature is the analysis of the language of corporate communication. This methodology has demonstrated very good results over the past 10 years…. What about this year?

Research Information & Knowledge Hub for additional information on IMD publications