The Corporate Benefits of Understanding the Military

More than 1.3 million Americans serve
in the military, including the Reserves or National Guard.

That is less than 1 percent of the total population. Our veterans are 18.2 million strong but amount to just seven percent of our population.

For that reason, many Americans
have only limited knowledge of the armed forces. The same could be true of your
board members, who may not know what specifically military life is like for
service personnel and their families.

Our armed forces have rich
cultures that can shed new light on strategy, execution, and commitment to running
complex and diverse organizations. Their workplaces span the world, but
military installations within the continental United States could offer unique
opportunities for directors to broaden their views of leadership.

Fresh Thinking

At the United Services Automobile Association (USAA), executives and board members make a point to visit military installations to improve their knowledge of, and appreciation for, the challenges our members face. For example, to commemorate 9/11 in 2019, USAA executives and board members toured US Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater and came away with a better understanding of the Coast Guard’s roles as first responders, law enforcement, and military force during peacetime and conflicts. More significantly, the visit enabled the group attending to see USAA’s members in their day-to-day environment.

Military engagements like this
one can benefit any organization—not just ones that work directly with the military
community. These outings can provide fresh examples of leadership thinking and help
board members to approach boardroom problems with a different mind-set, as well
as help build relationships with the military community that can yield lasting
benefits for your company, executives, and board members.

Several programs already exist that
promote better relationships between the military and private sector:

Joint Civilian Orientation Conference (JCOC): The Department of Defense’s oldest public liaison program, the JCOC allows business and community leaders to better understand military life, training, and operations.Business Executives for National Security: Senior business and industry executives volunteer their time to address the national security community’s most pressing challenges, from cybersecurity to talent management.Employer Support of the Guard & Reserve (ESGR) “Boss Lifts”: ESGR promotes understanding between companies and their employees who serve in the National Guard and the Reserves.Increased Trust

Building greater knowledge of
the military has one more advantage: It builds trust in your brand, both with
employees and with the public.

Employees want to work for companies that care. Community involvement transforms a workforce into engaged employees. In the same way, a genuine commitment to military families wins support. More than three-quarters of Americans have high confidence in those serving our country, according to a 2017 Gallup poll. When a company steps up every day for the men and women in uniform, people notice.

Serving as Allies

Most importantly, intentionally
fostering a connection with the armed forces in your community leaves a legacy:
a more resilient military.

Nearly half of military family members don’t feel a sense of belonging in their local civilian community, according to a 2018 survey by Blue Star Families, an organization that seeks to connect military families with their community neighbors. Furthermore, 55 percent of military spouses are underemployed, Blue Star Families has found. Unsurprisingly, increasing the availability of military spouse jobs was the survey participants’ leading recommendation for improving a feeling of community involvement.

Corporate awareness of military
needs in the cities in which companies operate can help bridge that gap.

Engaging with the military is a
win-win proposition. Making the time and effort to do so should be one of your
top priorities as a board, considering the leadership lessons and improved
corporate trust that may accompany such an endeavor. It’s good for your
companies, the military, and the community—a great fit for inclusion in
environmental, social, and governance, as well as talent conversations at your
organization.

Vice Adm. John Bird, USN (Ret.), is a senior vice president with USAA whose 35-year Navy career included assignments as commander of the US 7th Fleet and director of Navy staff.

The Corporate Benefits of Understanding the Military

More than 1.3 million Americans serve
in the military, including the Reserves or National Guard.

That is less than 1 percent of the total population. Our veterans are 18.2 million strong but amount to just seven percent of our population.

For that reason, many Americans
have only limited knowledge of the armed forces. The same could be true of your
board members, who may not know what specifically military life is like for
service personnel and their families.

Our armed forces have rich
cultures that can shed new light on strategy, execution, and commitment to running
complex and diverse organizations. Their workplaces span the world, but
military installations within the continental United States could offer unique
opportunities for directors to broaden their views of leadership.

Fresh Thinking

At the United Services Automobile Association (USAA), executives and board members make a point to visit military installations to improve their knowledge of, and appreciation for, the challenges our members face. For example, to commemorate 9/11 in 2019, USAA executives and board members toured US Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater and came away with a better understanding of the Coast Guard’s roles as first responders, law enforcement, and military force during peacetime and conflicts. More significantly, the visit enabled the group attending to see USAA’s members in their day-to-day environment.

Military engagements like this
one can benefit any organization—not just ones that work directly with the military
community. These outings can provide fresh examples of leadership thinking and help
board members to approach boardroom problems with a different mind-set, as well
as help build relationships with the military community that can yield lasting
benefits for your company, executives, and board members.

Several programs already exist that
promote better relationships between the military and private sector:

Joint Civilian Orientation Conference (JCOC): The Department of Defense’s oldest public liaison program, the JCOC allows business and community leaders to better understand military life, training, and operations.Business Executives for National Security: Senior business and industry executives volunteer their time to address the national security community’s most pressing challenges, from cybersecurity to talent management.Employer Support of the Guard & Reserve (ESGR) “Boss Lifts”: ESGR promotes understanding between companies and their employees who serve in the National Guard and the Reserves.Increased Trust

Building greater knowledge of
the military has one more advantage: It builds trust in your brand, both with
employees and with the public.

Employees want to work for companies that care. Community involvement transforms a workforce into engaged employees. In the same way, a genuine commitment to military families wins support. More than three-quarters of Americans have high confidence in those serving our country, according to a 2017 Gallup poll. When a company steps up every day for the men and women in uniform, people notice.

Serving as Allies

Most importantly, intentionally
fostering a connection with the armed forces in your community leaves a legacy:
a more resilient military.

Nearly half of military family members don’t feel a sense of belonging in their local civilian community, according to a 2018 survey by Blue Star Families, an organization that seeks to connect military families with their community neighbors. Furthermore, 55 percent of military spouses are underemployed, Blue Star Families has found. Unsurprisingly, increasing the availability of military spouse jobs was the survey participants’ leading recommendation for improving a feeling of community involvement.

Corporate awareness of military
needs in the cities in which companies operate can help bridge that gap.

Engaging with the military is a
win-win proposition. Making the time and effort to do so should be one of your
top priorities as a board, considering the leadership lessons and improved
corporate trust that may accompany such an endeavor. It’s good for your
companies, the military, and the community—a great fit for inclusion in
environmental, social, and governance, as well as talent conversations at your
organization.

Vice Adm. John Bird, USN (Ret.), is a senior vice president with USAA whose 35-year Navy career included assignments as commander of the US 7th Fleet and director of Navy staff.

The Corporate Benefits of Understanding the Military

More than 1.3 million Americans serve
in the military, including the Reserves or National Guard.

That is less than 1 percent of the total population. Our veterans are 18.2 million strong but amount to just seven percent of our population.

For that reason, many Americans
have only limited knowledge of the armed forces. The same could be true of your
board members, who may not know what specifically military life is like for
service personnel and their families.

Our armed forces have rich
cultures that can shed new light on strategy, execution, and commitment to running
complex and diverse organizations. Their workplaces span the world, but
military installations within the continental United States could offer unique
opportunities for directors to broaden their views of leadership.

Fresh Thinking

At the United Services Automobile Association (USAA), executives and board members make a point to visit military installations to improve their knowledge of, and appreciation for, the challenges our members face. For example, to commemorate 9/11 in 2019, USAA executives and board members toured US Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater and came away with a better understanding of the Coast Guard’s roles as first responders, law enforcement, and military force during peacetime and conflicts. More significantly, the visit enabled the group attending to see USAA’s members in their day-to-day environment.

Military engagements like this
one can benefit any organization—not just ones that work directly with the military
community. These outings can provide fresh examples of leadership thinking and help
board members to approach boardroom problems with a different mind-set, as well
as help build relationships with the military community that can yield lasting
benefits for your company, executives, and board members.

Several programs already exist that
promote better relationships between the military and private sector:

Joint Civilian Orientation Conference (JCOC): The Department of Defense’s oldest public liaison program, the JCOC allows business and community leaders to better understand military life, training, and operations.Business Executives for National Security: Senior business and industry executives volunteer their time to address the national security community’s most pressing challenges, from cybersecurity to talent management.Employer Support of the Guard & Reserve (ESGR) “Boss Lifts”: ESGR promotes understanding between companies and their employees who serve in the National Guard and the Reserves.Increased Trust

Building greater knowledge of
the military has one more advantage: It builds trust in your brand, both with
employees and with the public.

Employees want to work for companies that care. Community involvement transforms a workforce into engaged employees. In the same way, a genuine commitment to military families wins support. More than three-quarters of Americans have high confidence in those serving our country, according to a 2017 Gallup poll. When a company steps up every day for the men and women in uniform, people notice.

Serving as Allies

Most importantly, intentionally
fostering a connection with the armed forces in your community leaves a legacy:
a more resilient military.

Nearly half of military family members don’t feel a sense of belonging in their local civilian community, according to a 2018 survey by Blue Star Families, an organization that seeks to connect military families with their community neighbors. Furthermore, 55 percent of military spouses are underemployed, Blue Star Families has found. Unsurprisingly, increasing the availability of military spouse jobs was the survey participants’ leading recommendation for improving a feeling of community involvement.

Corporate awareness of military
needs in the cities in which companies operate can help bridge that gap.

Engaging with the military is a
win-win proposition. Making the time and effort to do so should be one of your
top priorities as a board, considering the leadership lessons and improved
corporate trust that may accompany such an endeavor. It’s good for your
companies, the military, and the community—a great fit for inclusion in
environmental, social, and governance, as well as talent conversations at your
organization.

Vice Adm. John Bird, USN (Ret.), is a senior vice president with USAA whose 35-year Navy career included assignments as commander of the US 7th Fleet and director of Navy staff.

Why the New BlackRock Letter Matters for Boards

On January 14, the leader of the world’s largest asset manager, the $7 trillion BlackRock, released a letter challenging CEOs—and by implication boards—on a major global risk. Referencing new research from McKinsey & Co. on the “socioeconomic implications of physical climate risk,” Larry Fink urged CEOs to do more to mitigate the impact of climate change and to improve disclosures on its impact. 

Replete with calls for companies to serve their “stakeholders,” the Fink letter immediately drew comparisons to the Business Roundtable’s historic August 2019 statement along these lines.

BlackRock does adhere to stakeholder values in this sense. But with all due respect to the concept of stakeholder value, I draw a far different lesson from the Fink letter. In my view, the takeaway here is not so much about who (stakeholders versus shareholders) as about what (climate risk) and when (over the long term).

What

For the “what,” climate change is clearly a risk—a fact underscored by the World Economic Forum’s Global Risk Report 2020, released the day after the Fink letter. BlackRock is not the only investor concerned about it: The Climate Action 100+ investor initiative, which represents 370 investors with more than US$35 trillion in assets under management, works with its portfolio investment companies to “ensure they are minimizing and disclosing risks and maximizing opportunities presented by climate change.”

In our 2019-2020 Public Company Governance Survey, climate change was cited as a top environmental, social, and governance (ESG) concern by just 25 percent of respondents. In 2020, we believe more boards will ask their management teams to evaluate if their company is exposed to climate risk, whether physical risk (such as impact of a weather event) or transition risk (such as big shifts in asset values or higher costs of doing business). We do know that 30 percent of our respondents who met with investors discussed climate change in those meetings.

In 2018, we released our third Blue Ribbon Commission report on risk oversight. Adaptive Governance: Board Oversight of Disruptive Risks covers climate change risk in some detail—discussing specific impacts of both natural disaster incidents and longer-term environmental depletion—as well as features other risks such as cyberattacks.

I
think we can expect a call for increased disclosures to investors on how
climate change is being discussed in the boardroom and viewed by the company as
a whole. Boards should prepare for more scrutiny from investors of all sizes
and should be prepared to enhance disclosure of materially significant risks that
are caused by climate change. (Be on the lookout for an NACD primer on the
topic later this year.)

When

As for the “when,” BlackRock is to be commended for its emphasis on long-term returns. This is a message NACD has been promoting for years—notably in the 2015 report from the Blue Ribbon Commission on The Board and Long-Term Value Creation. As cochairs Karen Horn and Bill McCracken stated on behalf of that Commission, “We believe boards of directors have a fundamental responsibility to help management navigate today’s complex and changing business environment without allowing a ‘meet or beat the quarter’ mentality to undermine or dilute the company’s focus on long-term strategic objectives.” 

This
quote could well apply to concerns about climate change and other risks.
Protecting against such risks may require an investment that will decrease
profits in the short term, but will prove wise in later years.

Who

Last but not least, we come full circle back to the “who”—as in shareholders and other stakeholders. There is a bit of  irony here: Fink wants corporations to attend to all stakeholders rather than merely shareholders, but he is focused—as he should be—on long-term shareholder returns. Fink’s emphasis is that climate change presents a financial risk to the company and therefore its shareholders. The letter, titled “A Fundamental Reshaping of Finance,” notes that BlackRock invests on behalf of other shareholders and has “a deep responsibility to these institutions and individuals—who are shareholders in your company and thousands of others—to promote long-term value.”

Fink’s point is that unless companies pay attention to risks
such as climate change, then their financial returns will worsen over time,
harming investors—including BlackRock’s.

BlackRock
is an asset manager and therefore  has a
fiduciary duty to maximize shareholder returns. But corporate directors are not
investment fund fiduciaries. They serve as fiduciaries for the corporation as a
whole, and while they must serve shareholder interests before their own under
the duty of loyalty, this duty does not exclude considering other stakeholders.

In
the long run, shareholder and stakeholder values converge. A company cannot
create long-term value without serving the long-term interests of other
stakeholders—including the planet itself.

Why the New BlackRock Letter Matters for Boards

On January 14, the leader of the world’s largest asset manager, the $7 trillion BlackRock, released a letter challenging CEOs—and by implication boards—on a major global risk. Referencing new research from McKinsey & Co. on the “socioeconomic implications of physical climate risk,” Larry Fink urged CEOs to do more to mitigate the impact of climate change and to improve disclosures on its impact. 

Replete with calls for companies to serve their “stakeholders,” the Fink letter immediately drew comparisons to the Business Roundtable’s historic August 2019 statement along these lines.

BlackRock does adhere to stakeholder values in this sense. But with all due respect to the concept of stakeholder value, I draw a far different lesson from the Fink letter. In my view, the takeaway here is not so much about who (stakeholders versus shareholders) as about what (climate risk) and when (over the long term).

What

For the “what,” climate change is clearly a risk—a fact underscored by the World Economic Forum’s Global Risk Report 2020, released the day after the Fink letter. BlackRock is not the only investor concerned about it: The Climate Action 100+ investor initiative, which represents 370 investors with more than US$35 trillion in assets under management, works with its portfolio investment companies to “ensure they are minimizing and disclosing risks and maximizing opportunities presented by climate change.”

In our 2019-2020 Public Company Governance Survey, climate change was cited as a top environmental, social, and governance (ESG) concern by just 25 percent of respondents. In 2020, we believe more boards will ask their management teams to evaluate if their company is exposed to climate risk, whether physical risk (such as impact of a weather event) or transition risk (such as big shifts in asset values or higher costs of doing business). We do know that 30 percent of our respondents who met with investors discussed climate change in those meetings.

In 2018, we released our third Blue Ribbon Commission report on risk oversight. Adaptive Governance: Board Oversight of Disruptive Risks covers climate change risk in some detail—discussing specific impacts of both natural disaster incidents and longer-term environmental depletion—as well as features other risks such as cyberattacks.

I
think we can expect a call for increased disclosures to investors on how
climate change is being discussed in the boardroom and viewed by the company as
a whole. Boards should prepare for more scrutiny from investors of all sizes
and should be prepared to enhance disclosure of materially significant risks that
are caused by climate change. (Be on the lookout for an NACD primer on the
topic later this year.)

When

As for the “when,” BlackRock is to be commended for its emphasis on long-term returns. This is a message NACD has been promoting for years—notably in the 2015 report from the Blue Ribbon Commission on The Board and Long-Term Value Creation. As cochairs Karen Horn and Bill McCracken stated on behalf of that Commission, “We believe boards of directors have a fundamental responsibility to help management navigate today’s complex and changing business environment without allowing a ‘meet or beat the quarter’ mentality to undermine or dilute the company’s focus on long-term strategic objectives.” 

This
quote could well apply to concerns about climate change and other risks.
Protecting against such risks may require an investment that will decrease
profits in the short term, but will prove wise in later years.

Who

Last but not least, we come full circle back to the “who”—as in shareholders and other stakeholders. There is a bit of  irony here: Fink wants corporations to attend to all stakeholders rather than merely shareholders, but he is focused—as he should be—on long-term shareholder returns. Fink’s emphasis is that climate change presents a financial risk to the company and therefore its shareholders. The letter, titled “A Fundamental Reshaping of Finance,” notes that BlackRock invests on behalf of other shareholders and has “a deep responsibility to these institutions and individuals—who are shareholders in your company and thousands of others—to promote long-term value.”

Fink’s point is that unless companies pay attention to risks
such as climate change, then their financial returns will worsen over time,
harming investors—including BlackRock’s.

BlackRock
is an asset manager and therefore  has a
fiduciary duty to maximize shareholder returns. But corporate directors are not
investment fund fiduciaries. They serve as fiduciaries for the corporation as a
whole, and while they must serve shareholder interests before their own under
the duty of loyalty, this duty does not exclude considering other stakeholders.

In
the long run, shareholder and stakeholder values converge. A company cannot
create long-term value without serving the long-term interests of other
stakeholders—including the planet itself.

Onboarding Digital Natives Into Executive Roles

Executive onboarding is the process of acquiring, accommodating, assimilating, and accelerating new executives to improve productivity and retention, and accelerate results. The prerequisite to successful executive onboarding is getting your organization aligned around needs and roles. For digital natives born after 1980 and moving into executive roles, onboarding should be anticipatory, proffered, on-demand, real-time, personalized, collaborative, and bite-sized – step-by-step.
ALIGN: Make sure your organization agrees on the need for and delineation of the executive roles you seek to fill.
Start by stopping to reconfirm your organization’s purpose, priorities and desired results, and how your new executives will contribute. Map out your message to stakeholders and candidates. Play those out in your recruiting briefs, current best thinking on executive onboarding plans and timelines; and align key players.
Click here to read more.
 

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Why The P.S. Is So Important For Introverts

Let’s start with the premise that you want everyone’s best ideas – whether or not you choose to accept or act on them. Let’s further presume that you have meetings for participants to learn, contribute and decide. The problem is that meetings, by definition, are geared to extroverts and run the risk of leaving introverts behind. If you want the best ideas for introverts you must, must, must, give them things to mull over in advance and must give them a chance to weigh in after the meeting close with a p.s. with the rest of their ideas – and often, their best ideas.
Click here to read more.
 

The post Why The P.S. Is So Important For Introverts appeared first on PrimeGenesis.

The Pillars Of Interpersonal Leadership – Structure, Leverage And Confidence

Interpersonal leadership is about inspiring and enabling others to do their absolute best together to realize a meaningful and rewarding shared purpose. While the most effective strategic leaders think outside-in, the best interpersonal leaders take an inside-out approach to people. They enable others by giving them a structure or framework to guide their own thinking and action. They give or get them leverage to accelerate progress. And they give them confidence in their own motivation and strengths to fuel the spark of inspiration that’s already inside of them.
Click here to read more.
 

The post The Pillars Of Interpersonal Leadership – Structure, Leverage And Confidence appeared first on PrimeGenesis.