Meeting the Challenge
By Robert H. Rock

Life has drastically changed for all of us, with a tectonic shift in how we live and breathe. We at Directors & Boards are committed to help you navigate through this unprecedented crisis and guide you toward a revived and renewed future.

In this time of war, boards of directors need to demonstrate leadership. First and foremost, we need to focus on the health, safety and well-being of our families, employees and communities.

Second, we need to demonstrate that we are sharing the pain during this crisis, notably by reducing director fees and by cutting management compensation, particularly CEO pay.

Third, we need to communicate regularly and candidly with all our constituencies, providing clear and honest information regarding what we know and what we don’t know.

Fourth, we should mobilize our company and our employees to help ameliorate the current crisis by aiding our communities through charitable donations and community outreach, and, if possible, by supporting our nation in the delivery of critical equipment and supplies through the redesign of production and the repurposing of distribution facilities.

Fifth, we should task management to explore how the crisis has opened up opportunities for new and better ways of doing business, including augmenting online services and remote workforces, doing away with unneeded products and activities, and imagining and innovating new products and services that satisfy current customer needs and anticipate new ones.

Sixth, since social and environmental issues such as climate change, income inequality and public health are staring us in the face, directors should increase their understanding and acceptance of their company’s ESG responsibilities.

Seventh, we need to re-evaluate risk, particularly cyber risks, so that we are better prepared for the next attack.

Finally, the board as a whole, and the lead director in particular, must stay intimately involved with both the management of current crisis-related issues and the planning for a post-crisis world. With perseverance, ingenuity and compassion, directors can help ensure the safety of our families, the success of our businesses, the prosperity of our nation and the survival of our planet.

For more than four decades Directors & Boards has remained committed to providing you with the information, insights and tools to meet the changing needs and requirements of boards and the increasing roles and responsibilities of directors. During this crisis we are stepping up our help and support for our director community. Through increased frequency and enhanced content of webinars, newsletters and special reports, we are offering best practices, playbooks and platforms for managing through this crisis, including how to communicate with stakeholders, manage operations such as cash conservation, and adjust employee policies, notably compensation plans.

Moreover, we have set up ways for our director community to stay intimately connected by hosting virtual forums and by soliciting comments and advice, which our managing editor April Hall is collecting, collating and distributing in our weekly newsletter. By doing so, we hope and expect that we can not only address but also meet the needs and challenges facing both today’s and tomorrow’s board of directors.

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