A long-term business strategy, pre-discussed and agreed upon inside the walls of an organization, is essential for its success. Nowadays, boardroom talk involves battling the effects of the pandemic, managing the remote workforce, and getting ready for the next steps.
When the business get overstretched, the board step in and help set it on the right path. To do so, board members must have developed the ability to think critically and obtained enough knowledge to ask challenging questions.
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in numerous new challenges for business managers, and board members need to apply their due diligence and decision-making duties more actively than ever. Here are the 12 must-ask questions for board members in 2021 to ensure a company’s strategy is adjusted to fit the changing conditions and that it remains ahead of emerging trends.
Before focusing on business plans and strategies, companies must focus on their employees first. After all, people are the company’s most valuable asset, so they deserve special attention. Board members should ensure that all employees are safe and well and that necessary steps are taken to minimize infection risk. Here are some questions board members can ask:
- Does the company have any COVID-19 cases in its facilities? What steps have been taken to minimize the risk of infection?
- Are essential workers or skeleton crews required in the company’s facilities? Is the staff “equipped” to work remotely?
- Does the company have the “new normal” scenarios, such as a majority of employees operating remotely?
- Is the company providing proper care and service to both its customers and employees?
Budgeting and Cash Flow
After the outbreak of COVID-19, many companies are facing a decrease in earnings and an increase in expenses. Board members need to have a clear picture of revenue and debt considerations. Here are a few questions board should be asking:
- How is the company adjusting and prioritizing spending to maximize cash flow and preserve cash?
- What is the company’s position with respect to debt?
- Does the company have new needs for financing as a result of the pandemic?
- What budget cuts or inclusions are “necessary” moving forward?
Data and Collaboration
Work-from-home arrangements have become the new normal. To make work from home possible, companies had to make significant changes to their IT practically overnight. However, those changes might have left some gaps in their data accessibility practices. Here are some questions regarding IT, data security, and data sharing board members shoud ask:
- What are the safest and most effective ways for employees to communicate and collaborate, especially when sensitive or protected data is involved?
- Does the company have secure backup communication channels in place?
- Is access to IT systems and data appropriately controlled while employees work remotely as well as during shutdowns?
- Is the organization’s network — and the sensitive communication that takes place on it — monitored carefully, and is there a way for employees to report suspicious activity?
By asking these questions, board members will ensure that all employees are safe and protected, the company continues working as usual according to carefully allocated budgets, and that there are no risks related to the way business intelligence is accessed, managed, modeled, and analyzed.
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