Grit & Growth | Masterclass on Effective Corporate Governance

Welcome to Grit & Growth’s masterclass on corporate governance, featuring Alexey Volynets of International Finance Corporation. From what structures make sense to employ, and when in the life cycle of your business you should use them, Volynets provides advice and insights on how corporate governance can be a powerful tool for your business.

While many entrepreneurs fear corporate governance because they believe it means more legal constraints and less control, Volynets wants to change the way founders of small to medium-size enterprises think about governance. He has been researching and teaching companies about the ins and outs of corporate governance for years and understands why it’s so challenging. “It’s really hard to let go. It’s hard to delegate. It’s hard to allow people from outside the company to make huge strategic decisions on what it should do,” he acknowledges. But Volynets believes there comes a time in every company’s journey when leaders have to delegate and formalize systems and structures to support growth.

Top Six Masterclass Takeaways
Corporate governance goes beyond boards. Volynets defines it quite simply: it’s about how companies are directed and controlled. And second, it’s when companies have created structured policies that “mean you can take a vacation for three weeks and not be afraid your business will fall apart while you’re away.”

The stage of your business makes a difference. You don’t have to have all your corporate governance structures done on day one. What makes sense for a mature, expanding business is far different than an early stage startup.

Don’t be afraid to ask for external advice. And the earlier you start thinking about it, the better. It can be formal or informal, but relying on others with expertise you don’t have in-house is essential.

Build a good management team, too. A good board of directors needs to have a partner in the company beyond the CEO. And realistically, in the early days when resources are strapped, your management team can perform many of the functions you’ll later assign to a board.

Don’t wait to create an organizational chart. While you’re focusing on growth, adding people and units, you need to start formalizing your organization’s key functions, and what those key functions actually do. And it might just come in handy for succession if one of your key people suddenly leaves.

Ease into corporate governance with an advisory board. It can be a great stepping-stone as you formalize governance structures.

Listen to Volynets’ insights, advice, timing, and strategies for how you can ease into and ultimately formalize and manage a board when the time is right.
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