NEDs Rethink Webinar Q&A: considerations in a crisis

What processes are needed ensure that boards are proactive in management and not reactive?

Given that there are lots of business, environment and political challenges that you cannot control, what tips do you have to enable boards to identify, and monitor the measures that matter? What processes are needed ensure that boards are proactive in management and not reactive?

Zoe Bailey, Chief Strategic Officer: I am a NED on a small board and found we have just connected a lot more in recent months - we had regular board meetings scheduled but now have much more informal catch-ups in addition to these to ensure we are connected, asking the right questions, we’re getting the responses that we think that we should. Interestingly, also in my NED capacity I have been coaching a couple of individuals in that business and that has been really helpful to provide a bit more insight into the granular.

We have adopted a similar approach at BDO, the Leadership Team again had a very formal structure around when they would meet. That has been enhanced in recent months with regular weekly, even daily ‘COVA-calls’. They are very informal and set-up on a needs basis. When I was talking to leaders across the business, I found it had been replicated and surprisingly, what has been interesting is the feedback - teams feel more connected now than when they were physically in the office. As we emerge from this I think there is something there that we should try to take with us into the longer-term 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

Key Contact

Senior Partner