At the beginning of the school holidays in North Rhine-Westphalia, let us allow ourselves a short break from corporate governance and artificial intelligence. Let’s talk about the people who should shape the future and who bear the responsibility for transformation and corporate culture. In other words, let’s talk about the human side of supervisory boards and boards of directors. Let’s talk about personal governance.
An article in the world has recently brought it to the point. Many supervisory boards and management boards rave about “social responsibility” in glossy brochures – but fall silent as soon as it becomes concrete. They are reminiscent of some politicians: ducking away, mainstream talking, just not attracting attention or being offensive.
But are companies really ‘apolitical’? Are decision-makers not allowed to express a (personal) opinion when they hold office? Times seem to have changed since powerful people in China, Saudi Arabia and the USA have been acting with an iron fist.
Must managers stand up for freedom and democracy?
For me, the question arises as to how supervisory boards and their board members face the ethical challenges. Should or must they stand up for democracy and freedom – and if so, how? On the one hand, new global political conditions threatening the entire ecosystem – and, on the other hand, the ever louder voice of (institutional) shareholders calling for more social responsibility and sustainability.
The solution to this dilemma is not the ‘liberating’ check in the ‘comply-or-explain’. This is no longer enough for good governance – and will no longer be enough in an increasingly complex and fast-moving economy. Anyone who thinks he only has to work through a list of recommendations and criteria in order to be a good supervisory board or board member is out of place.
It’s culture that counts – and with it people
Because I am convinced that the playing field on which everything will decide is…