Boards of the Future

Critical Leadership in Uncertain Times

The need for a strong, effective board of directors has never been greater. The board’s role has become much more wide-ranging, complex, and demanding.

Boards have always offered in-depth strategic insights on how companies can use scarce resources to create competitive advantage. Today, they are navigating a shifting socio-economic landscape like no other, where the unprecedented disruption of a global pandemic turned out not to be the storm, but rather the calm before it. In doing so, the boards most successfully adapting to this constant change are not only posing fundamental questions about what their companies do or how they do it, but even why they do it at all. To capture their experiences, their response to changing stakeholder expectations and their emerging priorities, August Leadership has worked closely with over 30 global business leaders from a broad cross section of industries to unlock the wider implications of 79% believing the new way of working is here to stay, 88% aligning on talent, technology and sustainability as the biggest challenges ahead, and 90% stating that boards themselves need to make a lot more progress in becoming as diverse as the customers, companies and communities they serve. The resulting blend of purpose and critical leadership offers actionable insights in seven strategic areas, which are distilled in this new report to help other organizations challenge their own approach and to trigger much needed debate about the role of boards, their evolving responsibilities and their essential competences.
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Mary Macleod

Chair, Board & CEO Practice, August Leadership
Mary Macleod leads August Leadership’s Board and CEO Practice. Joining from the Board Practice at Korn Ferry, she brings extensive experience, including having served as a Member of Parliament, Advisor to Secretaries of State and HM Queen Elizabeth II, Global Operations COO, Chief of Staff and Head of Management and Control for ABN AMRO investment bank and human performance consulting at Accenture. As a widely published advocate for board diversity and female leadership, Mary is also on the UK Government’s Women’s Business Council to advise on policies for women in the workplace and represents the UK on the G20 Empower Alliance to improve women’s economic empowerment around the world. She develops financial services executives for the c-suite as the Ambassador of the London Women’s Forum, has initiated Charters for Women in several sectors, supports neurodiversity as an advisory board member of auticon UK, and encourages social mobility by helping young people from more deprived communities to aspire and build skills for the world of work as a trustee of Career Ready.

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