NEDs Rethink Webinar Q&A: considerations in a crisis

Should Boards and SLTs rethink the way they select and develop senior leaders, and has the pandemic created a skills gap?

At our recent strategic considerations for NEDs during a crisis webinar, one of the participants asked if Boards and Senior Leadership Teams (SLTs) should rethink the way they select and develop senior leaders, and has the pandemic created a skills gap? Alternatively, do you think by adopting your rethink approach it can plug any gap? Often SLT’s are looking at the now, not the future state.

Tim Foster, Partner: I think it is an interesting question and it’s not one that has been posed to us too often. We do need to make sure we have the right leaders. I think it will come down to the organisation – you may be an organisation which actually has had the right leaders 6 months ago which would have been more around steady state operations and doing all the things that we normally do - more custodian type leadership. With the sheer scale of transformation, we need to make sure we have got the leaders with the right skills to effectively make that change who can think more broadly, who can think strategically but are also well versed in transforming organisations and understand and are open to transformation, agility and adaptability. It’s a good question because when I step back and think more broadly, I think there is going to be a need to develop leaders with that in mind.

Zoe Bailey, Chief Strategic Officer: I think leaders are going to need to be able navigate the new workplace with more of that flexible and agile workforce in mind – being able to reach people, not just physically office but also remotely and connect teams. This requires a special skill set that I think will be more important as we go on into the future.


This high-level strategic discussion used ‘Rethink’, BDO’s global framework, which has been designed around the following ‘stages’ to encourage a broader review of original business models and commercial assumptions that can be used to manage business priorities, address issues and leverage thinking:

  1. React - ensure that measures are taken to secure business survival in the short term
  2. Resilience - safeguarding vital elements of a company where necessary throughout the prevailing business environment
  3. Realise - future benefits of sensible business decisions taken calmly and pragmatically

These three stages can be considered separately to help you as a Non-Executive Director to guide management through COVID-19 over the medium to long-term. 

If you would like to discuss any of the issues raised in this article or if BDO can support your business please get in touch. If you would like to contact our speakers please find their details below.

  • Matthew White - Matthew is BDO’s Senior Partner and Chair of BDO LLP’s Partnership Council
  • Zoe Bailey - Zoe is BDO’s Chief Strategic Officer, a Board Advisor and Strategic Development Specialist
  • Tim Foster - Tim is a Risk Advisory Services Partner, with over 20 years’ track record

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