Europe’s boards stay confident despite today’s uncertain times

BoardClic is the leading digital platform for board and CEO evaluations. Our powerful digital platform allows boards to track performance, alignment and composition over time – enabling them to make informed decisions and achieve their full potential.

1 September, 2023
Article by: BoardClic


Over the past few years, businesses in Europe have been rocked by inflationary tremors, the war in Ukraine, and Brexit. And as if that wasn’t enough, the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted their ability to plan ahead and create long-term value

But while uncertainty seems to be the new constant, boards of large-cap, listed companies across Europe and the UK are still confident they can effectively manage whatever shocks lie ahead. This certainly holds true for the more than 400 boards and 3,000 directors that use the BoardClic platform. In fact, BoardClic platform users are overwhelmingly confident in two core measurements of how prepared an organisation is to tackle uncertainty.

Overall, more than 90% of board members in Europe feel that their boards are swift to adapt to changing business conditions. In the Nordics, the corresponding share was nearly 92% and in the UK, about 88% of directors agreed.

Turning to how board members think their organisations have the capacity to keep innovating solutions to tackle future market challenges, the European average is more than 82%. In the UK, the share is about 78% and in the Nordics, almost 84%.  

Despite some regional differences, it’s clear that using the BoardClic platform for regular evaluations bolsters the preparedness of board members. 

For any board, safely navigating a crisis hinges on qualities like trust, alignment and group dynamics. To really get ready for the unknown, boards need to cultivate a culture of agility and continuous learning. They also need to foster strong communication channels–in and outside the organisation. This means prioritising scenario planning and promoting diverse thought leadership, all to anticipate the full range of possibilities or threats that may impact the business. 

So is it all about being proactive rather than reactive? Only time will tell. While most board members believe they’ve adapted well over the past few years, and that may be true, the advent of AI in business raises another important question: Are some boards potentially overconfident about their future-readiness? 

From what we know of our work across all levels and types of organisations, boards sometimes fail to recognise challenges that are all too evident to management. This perceptual gap may stem from how information gets disseminated in a company. Or, it may result from unbalanced board composition. Also, many boards adopt a mechanical approach to strategy, which can fall short of addressing the nuances of a dynamic market.

One thing is clear: the role of the chair is critical in guiding boards through uncharted waters and in making tough transformative decisions that shape an organisation.

Here are some tips on how to bolster board performance, based on how some of Europe’s leading companies use our platform:

Smaller boards are better: Nimbleness often comes with a smaller size, enabling quicker decision-making and streamlined communication.

Prioritise chairmanship: Leadership sets the tone, guiding the direction and instilling confidence throughout the board.

Stay updated: Periodic board realignments with strategic goals are crucial to remain relevant and responsive to changing market conditions.

Champion age diversity: Varied age perspectives are more crucial than ever, enriching discussions with a blend of experience and innovation.

Seek feedback: Regular evaluations foster growth and alignment, ensuring the board remains in tune with the organisation’s evolving needs.

To wrap up, Europe’s boards demonstrated admirable resilience in the past few years. Yet, to keep the ship steady, introspection and agility remain essential. With the right board composition, mindset and a comprehensive platform for digital performance reviews, any storm can be navigated with confidence. Even the unknown.

About this research

Our data is derived from more than 1,000 board reviews conducted on the BoardClic platform. The platform includes feedback from over 3,000 board members across 400 organisations in 50 countries around the world.

This specific dataset, which focuses on future readiness, is drawn from board reviews that took place on the platform between July 1, 2022, and February 15, 2023. It reflects the opinions and attitudes of 1,223 chairs and board members in listed companies, financial institutions, private equity and venture capital firms across Europe.

Interested in ensuring your board’s peak performance? Discover how BoardClic’s Board Evaluation can elevate your board’s readiness, or talk to one of our experts today.