Category Archives: Board development

I was delighted when I heard that Bradford has become a technology university. As the world’s leaders are struggling to manage the impact of technology – is this an opportunity for the University of Bradford School of Management to lead the world in helping business leaders create strategies and manage for the future? Read my ...

Have you ever had that moment when suddenly the things that you write, talk and worry about are happening to you? Surely they always happen to other people? I have been writing about artificial intelligence and my worry that business leaders don’t think they need to understand it – it will only affect future generations. ...

Innovation is today’s buzzword. Every CEO claims that his company is at the forefront of innovation – at least every CEO who wants to keep his or her job. Every politician talks about the need for his country to be innovative if it is to grow and prosper. The innovation word is everywhere but I ...

A recent story unfolded from the United States about a sophisticated hacking which led to share price manipulation and thousands of people being duped into buying or selling stocks. As corporate hacking becomes an everyday incident, every chief executive should be sitting up and thinking about their own business. In this blog I want to ...

I mentor a number of ambitious, driven senior executives and there are a number of questions that come round again and again. The one I want to talk about today appears in many guises, but can be summed up as “what is enough?” (I will look at some of the other themes that appear regularly ...

  I recently spoke at the Balanced Business Forum about the skills that businesses need for the future. In the panel session, there was a very interesting question about how did I see career progression in the future. I used the analogy of bridges. Most of the owners of iconic bridges such as the Sydney ...

One of the most frequently recurring themes among my mentoring clients is “how do I get a seat on the board?” Some clients are looking to take the next step up to be Executive Directors, others are looking at NED (non-executive director) roles. Neither is an easy step to make and few people really think ...

Today I have published a report, March of the Robots … into the boardroom. In it I challenge UK bosses to start understanding and managing technology before our businesses lose profitability, brand names and even their jobs within the next three to five years. Will your job be here in the next five years? Have ...

There are a number of themes that run through my mentoring work but one of the most common is “How do I get a Non Executive Director (NED) role”? Senior leaders have two reasons for wanting to be an NED: 1. To get another viewpoint on board governance and to understand what NED’s need from ...

An article this week by Aaron Krumins in Extreme Tech says that DARPA is teaching an Artificial Intelligence to improvise and play jazz. Now the interesting thing about jazz is that it requires a high level of innovation, something we have always seen as the preserve of humans. So if computers can start to innovate ...

Leadership skills and management styles have always evolved over the years, but businesses are facing an unprecedented era of change in the way they manage their teams. Intelligent automation in the workplace, or “the age of robots” as many are calling it, presents a difficult question. How do you manage humans and robots as they ...

Driving instructors (another dying breed as we go to driverless cars!) tell their pupils that “objects in the rear view mirror may appear larger than they are”. An HBR article on managing business risk that was published last week reminded me of this. It was mainly about the financial services industry, but the lessons are ...

The route to business success is strewn with the debris of failed corporate giants who failed to plan for the future and prepare for the disruptive new technologies that lay ahead. But how do boards create the strategies they need for an uncertain future? How do they manage the risks before they appear? And, how ...

Is intelligent automation the key to our productivity crisis? A lot of people are worrying about the UK’s productivity, not least the Bank of England’s Governor, Mark Carney in his last press briefing. It seems a strange anomaly that when some of the economic statistics for the UK look good versus our EU colleagues, our ...

My colleague Victoria Tomlinson sent me this great blog she had written on how to chair board meetings and it set me thinking about what chairing skills are timeless and what skills we will need in the future. I’ve spent a lot of time sat around board tables, as a member of the executive team, ...

In my last blog, I looked at which jobs have been automated over the last 50 years and which ones are being automated now through what I call ‘intelligent automation’. I am carrying out research with businesses to understand how they view the impact of automation on jobs and business structures – I plan to ...

There is a great deal of talk in the media about the effects of Artificial Intelligence (AI).  Eminent minds, including Stephen Hawking, have been warning of its dangers and say that uncontrolled development of AI poses a threat to the human race. Some of these dangers are real and may or may not be avoidable. ...

As anyone reading my blog will know, I am currently on a mission to help boards understand and manage artificial intelligence and its rapid impact on our business world. One of the issues is that most people on boards tend to be older and happy to admit ‘I don’t do technology’. Here I look at ...

Recently I spoke to a large group of General Counsel about the future of work and the impact of technology. My own view is that they are an influential group of people, but often under-rated. So I was keen to get their views on what our future workplaces would look like – and what would ...

Last month I was invited to speak at The Two Per Cent Club. Instead of just talking, I asked these smart, senior women to look at a serious business problem from the variety of perspectives in that room. What was the problem? What were their views and most importantly what do they think boards should ...

One of the difficulties about the future is predicting time-scales for change. There is no doubt that the world is changing faster than ever before but getting leaders to think about the future never gets any easier. It’s the short term that is the most difficult. 50 years is not a problem, 10 is much ...

There has been a lot in the press lately about the driverless car.  A few years ago this was thought to be an impossible piece of technology, now we are trialling driverless cars in the streets of Milton Keynes.  But while it’s exciting to think about the technology itself, the thing that seems to me ...

Trying to understand what the future might hold is one of my passions.  I firmly believe while the future is hard to predict, at least thinking about possibilities will make it easier to deal with when they happen. And also because it is such a fascinating thing to do.  But it is very hard. I ...

Have you looked at adverts for watches lately?  Watch manufacturers spend a fortune on promoting watches but not to tell you the time any more.  It’s because everyone now has a super-accurate device in their pocket that will do that for them. So watches have become high-end items of jewellery now their original purpose has ...

Over the last year I have become increasingly concerned that boards do not understand the pace of technology change, let alone managing the impact it will have. When I heard a farmer on the famous radio programme, the Archers, looking at automating their milking and considering the future of robotics, I couldn’t help thinking these ...

Professor Stephen Hawking believes artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race.  Others are less pessimistic. Rollo Carpenter, creator of Cleverbot, says: “I believe we will remain in charge of the technology for a decently long time and the potential of it to solve many of the world problems will be realised”. My ...

Image of Motorway at night.

Driving down the A34 yesterday I kept passing car transporters filled with Land Rovers and it set me wondering – have the boardrooms of Ford and BMW ever analysed why Tata Motors is now manufacturing and selling Land Rovers profitably, when they could not? Having sat on boards for years and mentored chief execs, I ...

Innovation Image

Innovation happens, it’s what people do, and it is essentially neutral. In part two of this blog on innovation I look at the role of the board and what they can, and do, govern – and mostly don’t. The first part looked at Is Innovation Good or Bad for Business – and Society? 1. Boards ...

Innovation image

I was invited to be the keynote speaker for international accountants, Mazars, earlier this year. The topic was innovation and the theme of the conference started from an assumption that it benefits both business and society. But I decided to throw a hand grenade into the room – the theme of my speech was that ...