Conference Board Review has an informative interview with Alan Wurtzel, former CEO of Circuit City, about the role of the Board, CEO, Strategy, those with dissenting opinions, and how the glacial demise of the company happened. I thought the most telling comment was “management gradually became more interested in what investors thought than in what the customer thought.” This points out even more strongly how very important it is to have diversity of thought/experience on a board. Vice Chancellor Travis Laster suggested in a speech to Corporate Secretaries and Governance Professionals that boards should always appoint a specific person on the board to present a contrary opinion to major decisions so the board always hears, as he does, opposing opinions. That would go a long way to removing the stigma sometimes attached to not “going along” and being certain both sides of an argument are heard and considered.
This is an article we should all read, especially as we face today’s challenges.