Churchill’s aphorism “Never let a good crisis go to waste” is much quoted currently. With his customary acuity he knew that, at times of crisis, we see through a different lens and the fault lines in our institutions, our organisations become visible. If we are to capitalise on a crisis which is elsewhere depleting our reserves (of energy, of money, of resource) we need to be sure that we acknowledge what we can see, articulate our new understanding – and act.

What fault lines has the pandemic exposed in your business? On your Board?

  • How robust has your business proven once it became clear that the Coronavirus was a clear threat? How responsive has the Board, and the business it serves, been?
  • With the sudden need to upskill an entire workforce with the equipment to work from home, how easily have your technical teams delivered?
  • How robust is the cyber-security you have been able to secure for your remote workforce?
  • How quickly has your front line been able to respond to changed circumstances and to deliver the right messaging to your customers?
  • How well have you as a Board communicated with the Executive and, in turn, the executive communicated with the staff?
  • Have your actions been consistent with your stated values?
  • Is the Board waiving elements of compensation in line with those which may have been imposed on the workforce?
  • How truly resilient is this business after all?

As we turn our thoughts to life after lock-down Boards, like governments, need to ensure that learnings do not go to waste. The obvious response is to look closely at the risk register, perhaps to look with a less sceptical eye at potentially apocalyptic crises.

We forget the issues around climate change at our peril, will changing weather systems impact on the business, the supply chain, the customer and the balance sheet? Might terrorist attack cripple infrastructure or systems? What are the worst-case scenarios and how might you plan to mitigate those risks?

Another key task is to cast a critical eye over the skills matrix to which the Board works and which underpins the wider talent management disciplines in the business. What gaps has Coronavirus shown up?

Stonehaven can help you future-proof your Board and your business by:

  • Undertaking a dispassionate assessment of both skill strengths and shortfalls on the Board or Executive Committee in the light of Covid-19 and identifying key skills priorities;
  • Translating scenario planning into an appropriate skills matrix for the Board in the future;
  • Reviewing the Succession Plan.
  • Building talent maps for future needs to enable the Board to better assess talent priorities.

Our Board Practice brings together senior search practitioners with serving Board Directors. Two of our team hold Senior Independent Directorships and have sat on, or advised, Executive Committees of major listed entities. Collectively we are able to understand the concerns of the Board and to support initiatives which will ensure that the business can be truly resilient into the future. If you would like to discuss how we can help ensure that fault lines do not become fissures do not hesitate to contact us.


Contacts:  Julian Ortner |

                  Judith Osborne |