Skip to main content

Owning Up: The 14 Questions Every Board Member Needs to Ask

Owning Up: The 14 Questions Every Board Member Needs to Ask

Ram Charan

ISBN: 978-0-470-48550-7

Mar 2009, Jossey-Bass

224 pages

$22.99

Description

"This book is a most important contribution for both new and experienced directors, addressing contemporary corporate governance. The 14 practical questions represent the most vital issues that boards need to proactively address and are particularly crucial now as boards deal with the aftermath of the global financial tsunami."
Thomas J. Neff, chairman, U.S., Spencer Stuart

"If Corporate America's board members had answered these questions, the crisis of '08 would have been avoided. The book is that powerful. It should be required reading in every boardroom, executive suite, and business school on the planet. This book with its singular wisdom could change the face of corporate governance—with huge dividends to shareholders and society."
Ralph Whitworth, principal, Relational Investors LLC

"Ram Charan always seems to get it right. Owning Up not only asks the right questions, it gives answers that can make a real difference for improving board performance."
James M. Kilts, former chairman and CEO, The Gillette Company

"As always, well-reasoned, insightful, and thought-provoking. A work that every director will find of value, particularly given the intense pressure of these unprecedented economic times."
Professor Charles M. Elson, director of the John L. Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance at the University of Delaware

"Here is the book that every corporate director needs today. With his decades of insider experience, Ram Charan brings more wisdom and insight to this subject than anyone else I know."
Geoff Colvin, Fortune editor and author, Talent Is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else

Foreword by Jack Krol vii

What Boards Need Now ix

1. Question 1. Is Our Board Composition Right for the Challenge? 1

2. Question 2. Are We Addressing the Risks That Could Send Our Company over the Cliff? 19

3. Question 3. Are We Prepared to Do Our Job Well When a Crisis Erupts? 33

4. Question 4. Are We Well Prepared to Name Our Next CEO? 41

5. Question 5. Does Our Board Really Own the Company’s Strategy? 57

6. Question 6. How Can We Get the Information We Need to Govern Well? 73

7. Question 7. How Can Our Board Get CEO Compensation Right? 85

8. Question 8. Why Do We Need a Lead Director Anyway? 101

9. Question 9. Is Our Governance Committee Best of Breed? 117

10. Question 10. How Do We Get the Most Value out of Our Limited Time? 127

11. Question 11. How Can Executive Sessions Help the Board Own Up? 137

12. Question 12. How Can Our Board Self-Evaluation Improve Our Functioning and Our Output? 149

13. Question 13. How Do We Stop from Micromanaging? 163

14. Question 14. How Prepared Are We to Work with Activist Shareholders and Their Proxies? 173

About the Author 187

Acknowledgments 189

Index 191