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Dondo Mogajane | Choosing to serve at boardroom frontiers


Dondo Mogajane | Choosing to serve at boardroom frontiers
27-03-24 / Dondo Mogajane

Dondo Mogajane | Choosing to serve at boardroom frontiers

From navigating complex regulatory landscapes to addressing stakeholder demands for greater transparency, and holding organisations to account for diversity and sustainability, the role of board members has never been more crucial.
The benefits of effective governance that board members can bring to the table is truly transformative, both in terms of strengthening strategic planning and risk management, but even in accelerating growth through attracting investments.
Likewise, individual board members can make invaluable contributions to organisations of all sizes and across all sectors. They can lend their experience and expertise in key areas such as finance, strategy, and organisational culture, and emphasise fundamental environmental, social, and governance concerns (ESG) throughout company operations. By doing so, board members can play a guiding role in enhancing triple bottom lines and developing the market leaders of tomorrow.
In fact, a 2023 survey of nearly 600 company directors conducted by KPMG highlighted the significant value that independent or non-executive directors (NEDs) bring to businesses. The respondents emphasised that NEDs perform a vital role in businesses by serving as objective and trusted advisors to CEOs and executives, providing strategic guidance, and advocating for balanced decision-making among managers and owners. 
In South Africa, where corporate governance standards are closely scrutinised, boards have a number of critical, mandatory statutory and fiduciary duties. These extend beyond ensuring sound financial management to monitoring organisational activities and outputs in areas such as environmental stewardship, community development, and corporate conduct. 
In fulfilling their duties, board members must successfully pilot complex governance frameworks, uphold ethical standards, and drive organisational performance while balancing the interests of various stakeholders.
So, why should professionals aspire to serve on boards? There are numerous reasons, but here follows four of the most important:

  1. Leaving a legacy: Board membership offers a unique opportunity to shape organisational outcomes and drive positive change in society. Whether its through championing sustainability initiatives and promoting diversity and inclusion, or influencing strategic decision-making to grow organisations for the benefit of economies and jobs, board members wield considerable influence in shaping the future trajectories of organisations.
  2. Building an elite network: Serving on a board exposes individuals to a diverse range of well-connected and often influential experts and industry leaders from a variety of backgrounds and skillsets. These connections can lead to new opportunities for collaboration and partnerships, expanding one's professional horizons in sometimes surprising ways.
  3. Professional development: Board service offers an important platform for executives to hone critical skills such as analysing reports, active listening, strategic thinking, effective communication, and sound decision-making, which are all vital in senior leadership roles. Likewise, through exposure to high-level discussions and building relationships with other seasoned professionals, board members are exposed to a wealth of knowledge and insights, fostering continuous learning and an appreciation for different perspectives.
  4. Strengthening your professional reputation: Board membership is a high-impact role that enhances professional credibility and visibility, signalling leadership competence and a commitment to governance excellence. It strengthens the board member's reputation and marketability as a business influencer in their own right.

In conclusion, board membership offers a unique pathway to professional growth, personal fulfilment, and organisational impact. By embracing this responsibility, board members can contribute to a more equitable, sustainable, and resilient future for businesses and communities globally. Aspiring leaders should therefore seize the opportunity to develop their boardroom capital and become catalysts for positive change in the organisations where they serve.

*Dondo Mogajane is CEO of the Moti Group and Chairperson of the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF).

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