The importance for the Board to get out and about, and to be seen doing so, cannot be too strongly emphasised.
It gives the Board visibility and enables the Non-Executive Directors to gain a better understanding of operational matters, safety considerations, key performance drivers and the risks and challenges facing the business. It also provides them with the opportunity to engage with local management and employees. While this invaluable experience cannot be replicated in the boardroom, it is there where the benefits can be found as the Non-Executives increase both their personal and collective contribution to the Board’s effectiveness.
With the above in mind, the Board aims to visit two overseas operations each year, with many of the Directors also undertaking individual site visits both at home and abroad throughout the year as an integral part of performing their duties.
In September, the Board went to the USA where we have more than 260 sites, which makes it a little difficult for the Board to get around. So this year we decided to bring some of our regional and local management teams together in Boston to host teach-ins and hold one-on-one meetings with the Non-Executive Directors on various aspects of the North America business as part of a Strategic Initiatives Circuit afternoon. This relaxed forum proved very successful in helping to build knowledge and improve understanding in each of the specific areas covered. An informal dinner attended by the Directors, the North America management team and all presenters from the afternoon’s session provided an excellent opportunity to build on existing relationships and bed in new ones.
Additionally, the Board visited two Customer Service Centres (‘CSCs’) in the region, one in School Bus and one in Transit. The Directors toured the facilities and received presentations from management and employees about the operations and their role within them. They spent time with drivers and maintenance technicians, saw first-hand how the new Target Zero safety campaign had been embraced, had lunch with the workforce and gained valuable insight into the Group’s culture and values and how those are interpreted and exist locally.