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Gouverner et gérer sont-ils deux systèmes de pensée différents ?

13 février 2014

Peter Tunjic* avance que les actes de gouvernance, de la part d’un conseil d’administration, et les actes de direction, au sens de management, correspondent à deux systèmes de pensée fondamentalement différents.

Dans son article, l’auteur présente une matrice que vous trouverez peut-être utile de considérer. Je vous invite à lire l’article pour plus de détails.

Governing and Directing : Are They Different ?

A recent survey of CEO attitudes to their boards by respected commentator Jeffrey Sonnenfeld and his colleagues, shouldn’t surprise anyone: ‘CEOs complain that boards often lack the intestinal fortitude for the level of risk taking that healthy growth requires.

“Board members are supposed to bring long-term prudence to a company”, as one CEO says, but this often translates to protecting the status quo and suppressing the bold thinking about reinvention that enterprises need when strategic contexts shift.’ Consensus is emerging that public company boards are too focused on compliance and are ignoring their role as creators of enduring value for the firms they direct. But it’s not for lack of will on their part.

The board’s role in strategy is considered the biggest issue for 67 per cent of respondents to the 2012 Spencer Stuart US Board Index want to spend more time on strategy. Despite this, according to Heidrick & Struggles, 84 per cent of directors of the top 2,000 largest publicly traded companies in the US thought ‘they are now spending more time on monitoring and less on strategy. Consequently, only one-third of respondents to a 2013 McKinsey & Company report say they have a complete understanding of current strategy. If directors have their eyes on value creation why is it that their feet are still pointing in a different direction? It’s because the system is not designed to create value. Best practice in corporate governance produces too many ‘governors’ focused on protecting value and not enough directors focused on creating it.

Public companies have become over governed and under directed because corporate governance regulation and education is designed to ensure the ‘correct’ board structure, process and composition rather than ensure ‘imagination, creativity, or ethical behavior in guiding the destinies of corporate enterprises’

This paper argues that in order to create enduring value, public company directors must go beyond governing and governance and must also embrace ‘directing’ and ‘directorship’. I propose that governance and directorship are two distinct systems of thought and action in the boardroom.

The difference between the two lies primarily in their attitude to value. Governance concerns right structure and process. The focus is on protecting and preserving value through maintaining control and managing risk. In contrast, directorship involves bold choices that necessarily create risk.

Directing involves designing the ways in which value is created, making decision of consequence and inspiring CEO’s to lead their organisations into strength, resilience and endurance. The boundaries between the two might blur in the heat of a board meeting, but the differences in attitude, competencies and outcome are clear. Here are four tests to help you decide whether you stand on the question of value.

  1. Governing for shareholder value versus directing for firm value
  2. Measuring value versus creating value
  3. Governing for transparency versus directing with discretion
  4. Managing risk versus creating risk

…. The DLMA Matrix  graphically represents the similarities and differences of each perspective as well as the inherent dilemma required to balance them all.


DLMA Matrix (v1.2(0310913).jpg


*Peter Tunjic is an independent corporate advocate and commercial lawyer based in Melbourne, Australia. He is the author of and has co-authored several learning programmes for the Australian Institute of Company Directors. He consults on creating value in the boardroom and improving board/manager relations.

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