Editor’s Letter: Boards Make the Best Dance Partners

Editor’s Letter: Boards Make the Best Dance Partners

Business disruption is becoming ordinary.

Airbnb’s latest offering goes beyond just renting out homes to travelers. Its new program — “Experiences” — offers customers an array of local adventures such as Latin dancing in Philadelphia and crepe cooking classes in Paris.

Kodak is investing in blockchain, the technology behind the popular cryptocurrency Bitcoin, to create KODAKOne, an image rights management platform, and KODAKCoin, a photo-centric cryptocurrency “to empower photographers and agencies to take greater control in image rights management.”

And the disruption master Amazon is looking to cut out the delivery middleman with plans to launch a delivery service for businesses, going head to head with the likes of FedEx and UPS Inc.

There’s hardly a day that goes by without a headline about another new business model, product, service or technology that’s going to “change everything.”

It’s enough to make business owners and managers want to book an Airbnb rental off the River Seine and go make crepes.

But before you put on a beret and pack a bag, consider how a board of trusted and knowledgeable advisors could help you navigate disruption.

To that end, this issue is focused on business disruption and how a board of directors can guide private companies through the constant change and find ways to capitalize on it.

Julia Klein, the CEO of C. H. Briggs Company, one of the nation’s largest independently owned distributors of specialty building materials, and a veteran private-company board director, shares her thoughts on how boards can keep private companies ahead of the disruption curve.

Klein will also be a featured speaker at our upcoming Private Company Governance Summit, Boards & Business Disruption, in Washington, D.C., this May. (Check out pages 19-21 for details.)

This issue also includes a piece by senior editor April Hall on the value women bring to private company boards; an article by Family Business Magazine editor Barbara Spector on how independent boards can quell family conflict; and a piece by me titled “The Tech Tumult: Good governance can filter out the noise & unearth real opportunities.”

We also share private company governance best practices from past winners of our Private Company Boards of the Year award. One tip that kept coming up from our past winners was that private boards benefit from using the rigorous standards of public boards as a roadmap.

In the end, it’s all about having someone who can really challenge the status quo.

As Roger Nanney, the national leader of Deloitte Growth Enterprise Services, puts it: A board can bolster private company’s success in the midst of changing conditions by challenging owners and management and “asking the right questions.”

Boards are valuable partners; and it takes two to Tango.