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Board members in the region today are faced with a series of challenges that are forcing them to reassess their position on various topics, and look at the various steps they have to take to drive excellence in the organisation and across the board.
By Rohma Sadaqat

Board members in the region today are faced with a series of challenges that are forcing them to reassess their position on various topics, and look at the various steps they have to take to drive excellence in the organisation and across the board.

Speaking at a panel discussion at the 2016 Dubai Global Convention, Nagesh Suryanarayana, managing director of Protivity Middle East Member Firm, said that board members today are faced with many new challenges, in addition to their more traditional hurdles. There is a need for them to reassess several factors, he said.

"The first is that they have to look at how they are managing their effectiveness. Is it actually effective to manage businesses in these risky and trying times? Do they have the right mechanisms to evaluate their effectiveness? Do they have the right type of diversity on the board? And do they have the proper expertise on their board. The second is that they need to reassess the core values of the company. Is it the right time for them to relook at the tone at the top levels of management? Irrespective of the pressures to manage change in the company, do you have the right core values to stick to the fundamental basics?" he asked.

Thirdly, he highlighted the importance of having the right management to lead the company. "Is your leadership strong enough to drive the core values within the organisation? The fourth point is that board members now have to ask themselves if they have the right processes in place to implement change management in the organisation. If there is a change due to disruptive factors such as technology, do you have the right processes in place to respond to these changes, such that you do not deviate from the long term mission or core values of the company?"

Lastly, he noted that board members today need to make sure that there are proper and strong processes in place to identify, nurture, implement, monitor, and reward innovation in companies. Innovation, Suryanarayana said, needs to be driven and guided by leadership.

Also speaking at the discussion was Samira Shaloh, director of corporate strategy, development and quality at World Security UAE, who said: "To be successful you need to have a diversified board composition, clearly defined board roles and responsibilities, and strong alignment in terms of objectives."

She stressed that if the leadership at the board level doesn't succeed, then the leadership at any level in the organisation wont succeed. "To be a successful board leader you need to note the 'five Cs' of successful leadership which are: character, commitment, confidence, communication, and courage. You need people who act as role models; who everybody looks up to in the company. You need inspirers, enables, and achievers in a company, and this is where good leadership comes in."

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