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Mid-size enterprises board members have a special duty to fill

Mid-size but essential

Enterprise Board Governance

Mid-size enterprises, a.k.a. Entreprises de Taille Intermédiaire in French, are key to the economy of Western European countries. But are all their board of directors up to the challenge?

In "Le Monde et la Gouvernance des ETI", together with a group of experts we have attempted to write the hitchhiker's guide to the mid-size enterprise board membership.

Why? Because these companies are important. In France alone they account for 23% of employment and 34% of all exports. With a total of 5,800 "ETI", France is lagging behind UK which boasts 10,500 and Germany which leads with 12,500 of them !

The first part of the book focuses on the key drivers for change: a completely new ecosystem, major developments at macro-economical level and an original way for mid-cap companies to face the risks of "disruption". The second part explains the potential impact of these evolutions, then presents solutions illustrated by success stories.

Disruption, the object of all fears

In the chapter "Dare to self-disrupt or be disrupted?" I address three major issues for all companies and especially mid-cap companies:

  1. How can boards of directors concretely help the management team to anticipate phenomena as unpredictable as uberisation?

  2. How to take advantage of the collective intelligence of the company's employees and its ecosystem?

  3. How to transform these brutal and irreversible shocks into a lever of growth and durability of the company?

By sharing my experience as a manager and Business Angel, I propose an approach that is particularly adapted to the constraints of midcaps and I invite Board members to participate in the various stages of the SaMaTransformation Self-Disruption Program.

This approach is based on the power of the collective intelligence of the company, a resource that is often under-employed due to lack of time, method or knowledge.

In our book, we expose the process that can initiate and guide the board in taking into account these brutal and irreversible changes that we call disruption: technological innovation, arrival of a competitor from another sector, change in consumer behavior, new regulations, willingness of employees, ...

A resolutely optimistic commitment

The adage "Fear is the worst counselor" is so true! The cemetery of companies that have refused to confront each other, to anticipate or even imagine a world different from what was unfortunately filled. However, we are convinced that the mid-tier companies, their boards and management teams, would be wrong to fear the future - however unexpected will it be.

The fundamental mission of the board of directors is to help the management of the enterprises, monopolized by operational tasks, to take the helicopter view and project the company into its future. It is by recognizing and accepting this element of uncertainty and risk that boards of mid-sized companies can bring creative energy to the management team and the entire company.

The role of the members of the board of directors of an ETI is halfway between that of a member of the strategic committee of a start-up and that of a director of the SBF120. It is at the same time to impulse a direction, to stimulate a reflection, to support an action and to accompany the leaders.

If the road is arduous, our book is a hitchhiker's guide for board member at the time of disruption: practical, factual and useful.

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