When it comes to questions of ethics, values and risk management, boards often experience the same dangers that other groups do: the danger of group-think and the inability – or perceived inability – to speak up safely and constructively without fear of ostracism or retaliation. If board members are unable or unwilling to address difficult matters, the dangers to the organisation are clear, especially in light of the fact that the buck for risk oversight stops at the board. We’ll never know how many serious concerns or even scandals might have been stopped or curtailed if not for the pervasiveness of such group-think or reluctance to speak up within a board.

Using a hypothetical scenario of an all too familiar case about how to handle sensitive information within the corporate boardroom, we demonstrate how the ‘Giving Voice to Values’ (GVV) methodology for values-driven leadership development can be useful even at the highest echelons of an organisation, and provide directors and boards with a toolkit to approach such difficult and critical internal communications more successfully. This ultimately is a form of governance best practice and risk management at the highest levels of an organisation.
Hypothetical scenario

The audit committee chair of company XYZ, Mr Jack Jones, receives a verbal report from an internal audit (IA) director, Ms Carol Cooper, that the head of human resources (HR), Ms Greta Major, has been pressuring her staff not to fully cooperate with IA. It is not clear whether this is a simple jurisdictional dispute between IA and HR or something more serious.

Jul-Sep 2014 Issue

GEC Risk Advisory LLC

Giving Voice to Values