Key Strategy Questions that Corporate Directors Need to get Answered

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In the release of his new book, 20 Essential Questions Corporate Directors Should Ask About Strategy, Dr. Chris Bart provides a comprehensive strategic framework and step-by-step guidance to Directors that will both increase their competence in setting the company’s strategy and give them confidence in the one eventually chosen.

20 Essential Questions
Most directors struggle with the approach they should take to their corporation’s important task of strategic planning. Bart’s work gives directors a succinct and useable toolkit to help in that task.

Smartphone maker Research in Motion (RIM) continues to make headlines with its dramatic corporate changes first in advance of the release of the Playbook tablet and now with the Blackberry Z10. Yet according to bestselling author and McMaster University professor Dr. Chris Bart, Blackberry's Board of Directors keeps choosing to take the disastrous route.

"The Board still has not got the strategy right," says Bart. "The job of the board is to review and approve the corporate strategy and to make sure that the one being proposed by management is the right one. If the board gets it wrong and settles instead for “make-do”, “me-too” or 'satisficing' strategies, they fail the shareholders who are depending on them to ensure high quality strategic thinking on the part of management. Yet, this is what appears to be happening at RIM."

According to Bart, the key to success for directors in assessing and approving an appropriate strategic direction lies in the quality of the questions they ask about management’s recommended line of attack. Yet, surprisingly, directors will often admit that they are unsure about which questions to ask. Fortunately, in his new book, 20 Essential Questions Corporate Directors Should Ask About Strategy, Dr. Bart provides a comprehensive strategic framework and step-by-step guidance to Directors that will both increase their competence in setting the company’s strategy and give them confidence in the one eventually chosen. A critical component of Bart’s advice addresses how directors need to be “constructively engaged” with management when it comes to strategy. Too little involvement leads to rubber stamping while too much results in micro-managing.

Taking just under an hour to read, and including a workbook in the appendix, 20 Essential Questions is the ideal guide for busy corporate directors wanting to improve the quality of their strategic thinking and decision making.

20 Essential Questions has already received critical acclaim from a variety of business leaders.

Eric Rosenfeld, a Director of CPI Aerostructures, Computer Horizons Corp., Primoris Services Corporation and Cott Corporation says “Dr Bart hits the nail on the head regarding what directors need to know about strategy. Every corporate director should be required to read this.”

Nancy E. Hopkins, a Director of the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Camco Corporation, says, “Most directors struggle with the approach they should take to their corporation’s important task of strategic planning. Bart’s work gives directors a succinct and useable toolkit to help in that task.”

Finally, Beverly Behan, cited by Directorship magazine as one of the 100 most influential governance thinkers in the US enthuses: “Many board strategy off-sites consist of countless power points by management followed by a little “tire kicking” by the board. Chris Bart has developed a practical, comprehensive framework to shift this discussion to a far more constructive dialogue between the board and management– one that draws the board into the strategy conversation in a more meaningful and appropriate way that ultimately adds greater value for both the management team and the organization’s stakeholders.”

Bart is currently a Professor of Strategy and Governance at the DeGroote School of Business, McMaster University as well as the Founder, Principal and Lead Professor of The Directors College – offering Canada’s first and only university accredited director certification program. His previous bestselling book "A Tale of Two Employees" has been on the Canadian Business Bestseller List for the past ten years. He lives in Hamilton with his wife Judy.

For review copies or interview requests with Dr. Bart, please contact Raven Cook at raven(at)fpm3(dot)com.

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Raven Cook
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