The Board of Directors had seen its relevance increase in recent years. The complexity and interconnection of risks, competition at a global level, or the greater demands on the part of interest groups, society, and workers marked the agenda of a key body for companies. But the emergence of COVID-19 has represented a turning point: an unexpected risk, an unprecedented crisis, and an uncertain outcome that make the work of the counselors exceptionally complex.
The agenda has become marked by the need to make short-term decisions, with the aim of surviving here and now, but without stopping looking at the medium term. Move from the reaction to the new reality based on different scenarios, adapting the strategy as the crisis evolves. All of this with meetings that are now being held electronically, and that requires managing the information, the times, and the participation of all the directors.
Throughout the event, the keys that should guide the Council’s strategy to advance from a reaction phase were revealed, in which the priority is to ensure the health and well-being of people in the transition to the new reality, in which the objective becomes to take advantage of the opportunities and bet on growth.
Since the beginning of the crisis, people have been at the center of decision-making. The severity of the pandemic and the confinement measures meant that the Council’s decision-making was marked by guaranteeing the well-being of the company’s employees, from implementing teleworking in record time in all cases where possible, to monitoring and support during the crisis, with leadership as the most relevant value. Communication, especially appreciated when it comes from the chief executive, has been instrumental in this process.
Given the severity of the crisis, the second priority for companies, and as a consequence, it is closely followed by the Board, is liquidity. Maintaining the activity of the company and guaranteeing cash flow is especially complex in such a complex environment. The directors have been working based on possible scenarios, developing contingency plans appropriate to each of them.
Precisely, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the digitization processes of companies, which have relied on new technologies to guarantee the continuity of their business. The changes that have occurred in aspects such as employee management, customer relations, or communication with shareholders and stakeholders will be part of the corporate day from now on.
In times of crisis, employee talent is a key asset for creating value. In recent years, companies are betting on diversifying this talent, and the Council has been one of the areas in which this effort has been most visible. Having directors of different profiles and origins allows “understanding the geopolitics of management, the social, political and cultural keys of each of each country, which the planet is interdependent, as the health crisis has shown.”…