Remember the quaint old practice of New Year’s resolutions? Wise souls refrain from them these days; they know life is too complex to predict and human foibles too intractable. But optimist that I am, I still vow to improve every year…and so do the boards I know.
A substantial percentage of NACD’s 10,000-plus members belong to our association as “full board” members, meaning that the entire board of directors belongs—not just as individuals. When a board chair agrees to ongoing education for every single director around the table (as well as key management members) that says “continuous improvement” to me.
This issue captures directors’ determination to improve individually and collectively as the world turns, come what may. Every article underscores our commitment to advancing exemplary board leadership. It’s more than a slogan. It’s our mission.
Some things for 2011 are just as certain: Rulemaking by the SEC (see Mary L. Schapiro’s address to the annual Conference, page 46) the perpetual wisdom of the Delaware courts (see Jeff Cunningham’s interview with Chancellor William Chandler, page 18); the continued need for vigilance from audit committees and boards (see Jack Vance’s advisory on how to detect and prevent fraud and the “Special Report on Risk Intelligence”); the growing enthusiasm directors show for education and networking (see Conference highlights, page 46); and last but not least, the increasing regulatory need to hear from directors as Dodd-Frank moves from law to rules (see “Washington Update,” page 17—and please continue to respond to our pulse surveys).
In closing, I’d like to quote something I heard last fall at a meeting of NACD’s Advisory Council of Governance/Nominating Chairs. Looking around the table, a shareholder activist said bluntly, “If all directors were like you, there would be no problem.” Multiply that by 1,000 boards and you will see why I am so honored to help lead this organization forward into 2011.
Kenneth Daly is president and CEO of the National Association of Corporate Directors.