Summary of The Fish Rots from the Head

The Crisis in Our Boardrooms: Developing the Crucial Skills of the Competent Director

Profile Books,
First Edition: 1996 more...

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The Fish Rots from the Head book summary
Corporate scandals result when missing-in-action boards uncritically back celebrity CEOs or manage instead of lead.

Rating

7 Overall

8 Applicability

5 Innovation

7 Style

Recommendation

Is corporate governance in crisis? Look no further than the front page of your newspaper. You'll see a plethora of grubby stories concerning greedy CEOs, negligent boards, irate shareholders, downsized employees, cheated pension holders and ripped-off customers. Meanwhile, government regulators sharpen their claws and get ready to pounce. The public has become increasingly angry and cynical about corporate ethics, as the "perp walks" of pinstriped malefactors have become a nightly TV spectacle. Since it is directors who should ensure corporate accountability, transparency and probity – virtues sadly lacking in many boardrooms – directors are catching the heat. Bob Garratt insists that to clean things up, you must begin at the top. His insightful book details why boards have deteriorated and how they can improve. The title, a Chinese proverb, is an apt metaphor for the malodorous results of the governance mess. getAbstract recommends Garratt's informed exposé to corporate executives and board members who seek a thoughtful prescription for meaningful change.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why many corporate boards have often been "missing in action" in recent years
  • Why the "unitary/learning" board represents the best structure to improve overall board performance
  • Why training and accreditation are ideal methods to upgrade corporate boards for the future
 

Summary

The Board Member's Four Dilemmas
Serving on a corporate board is difficult because board members confront four sets of contradictory expectations: The board must exercise both prudence and entrepreneurial flair. The board must possess a detailed...
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About the Author

Bob Garratt is the chairman of a London-based firm that assists companies to develop professional and effective boards. He is also a professor of corporate governance at London University.


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