ESG is of course now the flavour of the month. Many firms already had substantial social programs, while evidential climate dangers and COP have rightly pushed attention towards the environment.
But Governance has lacked deep focus – and arguably must be the pillar on which E&S sit. Yes, there has been a race to tick boxes and ‘prove’ compliance, but such measures are often proxies and short cuts to trust, true purpose and meaningful governance.
The danger in all this is that ESG and, in particular governance, is too much about fads and fakes. But we simply can’t afford either. This time it (governance) has to be real. The opportunity is to make it so. The issue is how?
The answer, for Jericho, is to understand what governance is really about and then help an organisation apply that true meaning to its deepest purpose and practice.
Meaningful governance isn’t a chore but a liberation, it lets us all find legitimacy – the right to act and the licence not just to operate. Good governance allows us to respond to the needs the of the world – not just imposing ours on it. The best governance is not about talking control or minimising risk – but recognising and unleashing all the talents in and around the organisation. Just as brakes enable a car to go faster – governance, if handled right, isn’t a tiresome ritual to be endured – but the well-spring of creativity and ingenuity.
There might well be appropriate measurement for governance but any rules-based system is bound to be inadequate. Instead, or in addition to measurement, we need method. Governance can’t be so much about reporting on ‘your good behaviour’ – rather it is about welcoming and encouraging real scrutiny of what you do, why and how.
In this, organisations have to ask themselves three tough questions:
- To what extent do you own your character?
- To what extent do you think you have legitimacy to say your actions are good/ bad/ indifferent?
- Why is this form of governance good for my business
Governance must start with a deep and shared sense of what we are here for and how do we want to be regarded and remembered?
The easy thing of course is to rebrand around a mission statement and then pump out the good news. Unfortunately, or not, people now see straight through this. And within any organisation, its deep and abiding purpose, though possibly concealed or forgotten, is nearly always there. Governance is about the proper scrutiny of it.
A meaningful response to the issue of Governance comes from an appreciation that your organisation can only ever be a collective endeavour of overlapping and sometimes competing interest – and therefore governance must be negotiated collectively.
Governance therefore has to be an ongoing series of open and honest conversations – real ones in which we all learn and change our minds and therefore our attitudes and behaviours. This is Dynamic Governance.
The pressures for meaningful governance are not going away. They will grow.
Jericho understands this emerging world of governance – a world of sentiment and culture – not just metrics and boxes to be ticked. Governance that is long-term and strategic.
Our work is all about curating the constructive but critical spaces in which the collective that forms an organisation can discuss its deepest purpose, the ways it can flourish and how it invites scrunty of its purpose and processes.
More companies are striving to do ‘the right thing’. But too often it’s because of some personal C-suite epiphany, or external pressure. They are to be welcome – but how to bake in purpose and systemise it? How is public scrutiny to be welcomed and responded to? How is collective intelligence and lived experience – not just executive privilege or asset ownership – to be utilised to guide and create better futures for all? As such, governance is the cornerstone of a new leadership that is as humble as it is bold.
This can take the form of citizens panels, shadow boards or open strategy processes. But open processes like these only tend to work alongside open hearts and minds at every level of the organisation. Talk to people who also feel they own at least a bit of the organisation – not just surveys but real conversations. Governance is a human relationship venture. There will be conflict, rough edges that can be smoothed out when trust is built, that can’t be is ignored.
There is no blueprint for this. It all starts with a conversation. Jericho can help you have that conversation and so build the firmest of governance foundations.
We will work with you to:
- Scope the debate and establish your particular Governance foundations/ principles
- Guide internal co-creation, development and buy-in
- Build and curate an external community of influence to help stress-test and refine
- Embed within your organisation
We do this using the Jericho Method for co-designing and convening – utilising roundtables, discussion groups & events; building a relevant influencer community; asking bigger questions about the role of Governance in a better society; originating powerful content and assets for your organisation; utilising a digital platform and social channels to share new thinking & ideas – thus developing your capacity and credibility to lead.
- Leadership positioning on a key societal issue of great political, business and media interest and concern
- Range of content – designed for wider circulation – to elevate your positioning and thinking
- A nascent community of influence and engagement, built peer-to-peer and independently convened your key stakeholders and members of national and local government
- A framework for future work and leadership in this space
- Access to the wider Jericho influencer network, and participation in a range of associated events and activities
- A good business because it is based on good governance, and the rock on which E and S can be built
For more information please contact our Programme Director