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Blog : BOARD TALK

"When Times Change, So Must We"

Posted on January 22, 2013 at 1:40 PM

Anyone huddled up under a duvet in frozen Britain wondering if it's safe to come out yet in 2013 needs to get moving. One way is to watch Barack Obama's inauguration speech, setting the tone for his next four years as President of the United States. You can do that here, if you missed it. 


It was always going to be rousing, and we should all give thanks the art of oratory is not dead.


I retweeted a tweet (by someone close to me as it happens) because it resonated - a moment of 'SNAP' - it said : "Listening to the Spar Spangled Banner always makes me proud to be an American before I remember that I'm not actually American #inauguration".


Of course by retweeting I was only guessing at the 140word  sentiment I connected with, such are the perils of twitter and social media. And I was projecting the fact that I still feel very close to Washington, DC because I grew up there, and spent a lot of time around Capitol Hill, either protesting or interning...


BUT that rush of 'wanting to be part of something good and positive' that Mr Obama is so good at invoking is something we all respond to and connect with, sometimes to the point where you can get carried away with the 'rush' (and, as your eyes mist over at Beyonce belting out the Star Spangled Banner remember too late that you're not actually American).


But 'wanting to be part of it' is what we need to feel and inspiring us in that direction is what we need far more of from our leadership everywhere, in business as well as in government. This US President is exceptionally good at breaking the barriers and getting down to the bond of humanity.


"When times change, so must we" said Mr Obama. To me, that phrase says it all about our boardrooms.


The financial services sector has been hogging the neediness rankings for awhile now when it comes to change. But close behind it is the mining sector, which is - from anecdotal evidence - being slow to refresh and make its board appointments in an uncertain economic environment.


Weak commodity prices, poor capital alllocation decisions and lack of transparency is a toxic mix. Read FT Alphaville on the 'Rio Tinto Domino' here if you have access to FT.com which has had a lot of coverage on the mining sector in recent weeks.


On another note, the City Women's Network  has kindly invited me to their conference in February. I'm going because it has a great list of particpants and is called 'Adapt or Die'. Their website, I see, quotes Darwin as inspiring the theme for the half-day event.

 


"It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change." Indeed. 


Time to refresh those boardrooms and provide some leadership.





Categories: Chairmen, Appointments, Stewardship