Author Archives : Debbie Ahl

Five Keys to Good Governance

In the aftermath of Enron, Tyco International and WorldCom, with billions of dollars’ of investors’ money lost as the companies collapsed, the Sarbanes Oxley Act (SOA) was enacted to improve governance of publicly traded companies.    The SOA has done much to improve organizational governance, requiring auditor independence, increased corporate and individual officer accountability, increased financial READ MORE »

Disagreeing with the Harvard Business Review

Harvard Business Review is a go-to read for business executives; I am an avid reader.  But I disagree strongly with the April 2016 cover which blasted readers with a disturbing headline “You Can’t Fix Culture: Just Focus on Your Business and the Rest Will Follow.” Seriously?   The related article, authored by Jay Lorsch and Emily READ MORE »

Six Reasons Culture is Critical

Company culture and its ability to elevate organizational performance is an oft-reported topic in business journals, with a cadre of strong supporters and equally strong detractors.  Much of this debate is caused by lack of understanding as to what culture really is.   Company culture is often used to refer to the ambience of a company READ MORE »

Optimizing Nonprofit Boards

Powering Organizational Performance through Board Governance: Four Steps to Optimizing Nonprofit Boards   Too often, boards of not for profit organizations are employed primarily in the realm of fund-raising and advisory functions, wasting a clear opportunity to strengthen the performance of the organization. Boards made up of highly skilled and dynamic professionals may feel their READ MORE »

CEO Transitions: Five Ways to Turn Risk into Opportunity

Handled poorly, CEO transitions are costly.   Boards of publicly-traded companies know the risk of poorly managed CEO transitions – a time when stock prices can drop dramatically if the board does not show strong leadership.   But private and family-owned companies also face the risk of huge losses in enterprise value – including loss of key READ MORE »

Staging the Future: CEO Transitions

According to a recent report by the Stanford Graduate School of Business[1], organizations do not tend to have a strong succession planning process in place; not knowing who may be next in line to fill a senior executive’s shoes, nor a process by which to identify the characteristics of the leaders they envision for the READ MORE »

Seven Reasons Private Companies Should Have Boards

  Having served on boards of private companies, subs of publicly-traded companies and not-for-profit organizations, I believe that each type of organization has much to learn from each other.   For example, private and not for profits can benefit from the learnings of Sarbanes-Oxley and Dodd-Frank requirements for public companies, while public and private companies can READ MORE »

Entrepreneurial Culture

Entrepreneurial Culture & the Chaos Theory In the 1990 movie, “Havana,” Robert Redford delivered one of my favorite lines of all times. He said “I believe it can happen. I believe that a butterfly can flutter its wings over a flower in China and cause a hurricane in the Caribbean. They can even calculate the READ MORE »