Today I read an interesting article in the Handelsblatt: “Super election year on supervisory boards – but there is a lack of suitable experts”. That aroused my interest: A comment.
How does it look?
According to the Handelsblatt, 190 Supervisory Board positions will be filled by DAX and M-DAX companies alone in 2018. Tenor: There is a lack of experts. Is that really the case? There is a lack of supervisory boards according to the classic definition. But is the classic definition of the supervisory board what should be sought?
There are skills that are as important in the past as they are today: A supervisory board must be able to understand a balance sheet and approve the actions of the management board. Otherwise, however, the portfolio of skills that a supervisory board has to bring with it today has changed dramatically. Within the scope of digitisation, a supervisory board must have the classic skills (the selection and monitoring of the management board must be given priority), but must also be open to new ideas and approaches. This currently means: to admit errors, to experiment, to forgive a failure:
This hurts: errors include losses and possibly short-term (up to medium-term) loss of income among stakeholders. But: We are in a state of upheaval: AirBnB is the best example to illustrate this in a striking way: AirBnB has not invented anything new (rentals are one of the oldest business models at all), but with a comparatively simple idea into an existing business model heroingegrätscht and by generation of additional customer use valuable margin picked up.
Is there a shortage of candidates? No, but you have to abandon the classical patterns of thought and look for test persons who bring along a modern composition of abilities. The focus is on skills that are related to empathy: Bringing the organisation forward, in the long term.
Shareholders also need to learn and sometimes turn a blind eye to a quarterly profit to ensure that the organisation has a long-term presence in the market. We (the German IoD) have learned this in recent years: Suddenly supervisory boards are being sought that no longer correspond to the classical networker as Achleitner or Cromme, but have different skills.