How to “Govern” Effectively

How to “Govern” Effectively

There are many books and articles on people management and corporate governance. In fact, if you stacked them end-to-end, they’d probably reach to the moon and back. At Quadrillion Partners, we don’t really like the word “governance” in the corporate context: It conjures up images of bureaucracy and, worse yet, the government. Instead, we use words like “management” and “collaboration” to describe how we engage with business owners and operators in portfolio companies. We encourage leaders to set, define, refine and measure their management processes. As a business owner or board member, you know that you need a board of directors, some subcommittees, and an executive team of leaders to manage the business. You also need employees who are aligned with your strategy and financial objectives. How do you manage these various constituencies in an integrated fashion, toward positive outcomes? Where to start Implementing an effective governance structure in your company doesn’t have to be complicated, but it does require an explicit strategy, measurements, feedback loops and tools for the process to work well. The key is to start with your corporate strategy, then drill down quickly to initiatives and, finally, to objectives and key outcomes. (Google and Intel use “objectives and key results (OKRs),” as they call them, to create structure for their teams.) Here are five steps for “governing” effectively: Know your stuff.  Make sure you understand and can articulate your strategy and imperatives for the next 12 to 24 months. Focus on the big questions. Make a list of the critical decisions that need to be made, then segment it into administrative, financial, strategy, customer and...
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