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How CEOs can engage boards to become strategic assets

Strategy & Leadership

ISSN: 1087-8572

Article publication date: 18 May 2020

Issue publication date: 24 July 2020




The authors suggest ways CEOs can orchestrate their relationship with their board to optimize its potential to become a strategic asset for the company, as distinct from its more traditional role as overseer of management.


To better understand how CEOs can actively engage their boards to make them become strategic assets, the authors conducted research involving more than 50 conversations with Fortune 1,000 CEOs, board chairs, directors, academics and external board advisors to ask them to share their experience and perspectives.


The challenge for both CEOs and boards is to fight the natural tendency to evade confrontations or smooth things over, rather than harness conflict to achieve higher-value decisions.

Practical implications

CEOs can also model confident transparency for their executive teams and send a strong signal that it is okay to share information about work in progress with the board even if it is not finalized.


The stakes have never been higher for CEOs as they are expected to manage, make sense of and take advantage of unprecedented levels of ambiguity and uncertainty. To help do this, they need board members who are fully engaged and willing and able to prod, push, challenge and champion–to work with their CEOs to get to better insight and decisions.


Finzi, B., Firth, V., Bujno, M. and Lu, K. (2020), "How CEOs can engage boards to become strategic assets", Strategy & Leadership, Vol. 48 No. 4, pp. 45-50.



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