When I started Competent Boards nearly six years ago, my hope was to inform boardrooms about the risks and opportunities that sustainability, ESG, climate mitigation, and adaptation present. The Competent Boards movement is a global initiative aimed at equipping board members and leaders with the knowledge and skills to navigate these challenges and drive sustainable change in their organizations. As I have often said: “How can you make informed decisions if you are not informed about the emerging risks and opportunities?”

My incredible team and I have heard many anecdotes from alums over the years about the value of the Competent Boards programs, and we appreciate the feedback so much. For instance, one alum shared how they were able to implement a comprehensive sustainability strategy in their company after completing our program. However, I’ve always wondered about the concrete numerical results and long-term impact of our training and upskilling programs.

So a few weeks ago, I consulted with my team about the need to better assess the impact of Competent Boards, prompting us to conduct a comprehensive survey of our 1000+ alums from nearly 60 countries. We designed the survey, including qualitative and quantitative questions, to measure the long-term impact of the Competent Boards movement on our alums’ leadership and sustainability practices.

Although the survey is ongoing, and we are still in the process of collecting and analyzing the data, I can’t help but share a few preliminary results:

32% say they have achieved a new board seat and been directly or indirectly told their Competent Boards credentials had added weight to their appointment.

61% rate the value of the program high in terms of what it has brought them and their company in terms of positioning relative to their competition.

66% answered that the program has enabled them to move their company forward on sustainability/ESG issues and innovations.

68% rate the value of the program high in terms of what it has brought them and their company in terms of establishing partnerships.

70% rate the value of the program high in terms of what it has brought them and their company in terms of building their brand.

86% of respondents rated the program’s value as high in terms of improving risk management.

98% feel more confident communicating with the board and other stakeholders as a result of taking the program.

98% believe that the multidimensional Competent Boards upskilling process has opened their eyes to ways of working and thinking that they had not previously considered.

100% believe they are better equipped to make more informed decisions, resulting in stronger oversight.

100% feel they have a wider and deeper insight and are more appropriately equipped for the broader and more intense demands of a board position.

Many of our alums sent amazing impact testimonials. I have chosen just a few of them:

“The GCB.D program has allowed me to gain confidence in an important and ever-changing environment.”

“The insights, learnings and inspiration achieved through participating in the Competent Boards program have been significant both professionally and as a global citizen.”

“Based on the insight from the program, I’m able to ask more sophisticated questions that have helped guide the company away from risks and towards opportunities and forward-looking innovation.”

“Getting in-depth insight into all ESG issues enables me to feel better equipped in my roles of audit chair and risk committee member.”

”It positively impacts my ability to have impact every single day!”

I am so grateful for these impact testimonials. The feedback from our alumni has warmed my heart and reinforced my belief in the impact of competent boards with better insight and foresight to make more informed decisions.

When alums share that the training and global network that Competent Boards provides have helped boost competencies, confidence, curiosity, courage, and capabilities and inspired more continued education, my incredible team and I can only be grateful for having the opportunity to help so many leaders to advance significantly in their board and leadership roles.

It’s humbling to hear about the exponential impact felt by so many Competent Boards alumni. They are not just leaders, but also stewards of the future, sharing insight, foresight, and experiences to help each other be better board members and leaders. Their success is a testament to the power of the Competent Boards movement and our collective commitment to sustainability. It’s a movement that you, as our valued audience, are a part of.

This feedback underscores a crucial point: Competent Boards isn’t just about learning—it’s about transformational change. It equips leaders to understand and integrate sustainability into their governance practices, demonstrating leadership in transforming their organizations into stewards of the future. This reiteration underscores the urgency and necessity of sustainability in governance, keeping our fantastic alums informed and aware of the evolving business landscape.

I believe we need more stewards of the future now than ever. We are seeing a surge in environmental regulations, increasing demands for transparency and accountability, and growing public pressure for businesses to address social and environmental issues. We are also seeing pushback on ESG and diversity.

So the question some ask is: will all the pushback around ESG and diversity succeed in slowing things down?

If you ask me, we are beyond the tipping point. There will be no slowing down. In fact, the remarkable advancement of AI will only make the demands and expectations of leaders and companies to understand and act on ESG and diversity more rapid and demanding.

Pushback might be a new trend, but it’s a temporary one and will always fall short of the collective benefits of enhanced accountability and responsibility. Having competent leaders with the insight and foresight to lead their companies with effective stewardship is the best – and only – way forward.

For those interested, here is the link to the press release when Competent Boards was introduced to the world in 2018: “The World’s First Globally Accessible Board Training Program.”

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