Simplicity and collaboration

Saturday, 01 October 2022

Mark Rigotti

    What will I bring to this role? There are two principles that have helped to drive the success of every organisation I have worked with — collaboration and simplicity.

    It is a great honour to succeed Angus Armour FAICD as CEO of the AICD and author of this column. Readers of Company Director know of Angus’ thoughtfulness and passion for governance. I had the benefit of learning from him during a transition period before I officially took the reins last month. Angus leaves an organisation in good health, more clearly focused on its mission and its members, and better prepared for the future. It makes my job much easier to build from this position of strength.

    What will I bring to this role? There are two principles that have helped to drive the success of every organisation I have worked with — collaboration and simplicity.


    We need to strive to create truly collaborative cultures. In my previous role, as the CEO of a global business, I noticed the key differentiator in performance between local offices was levels of collaboration, both within the office itself and with other offices. It is an ongoing challenge for many organisations in the post-COVID-19 environment how they foster collaboration with increasingly distributed stakeholders and workforces. We have an opportunity now to “build back better”, harnessing the technology that allowed us to continue operations at the height of the pandemic, while taking advantage again of the benefits of face-to-face teamwork and connection. But deep collaboration is, of course, about more than where we are physically located. It is about shared goals, actively looking for opportunities where we can create greater value by pooling our efforts, and looking out for each other.

    The community of collaboration at the AICD extends far beyond our staff. The membership of the AICD is now near 50,000 and continues to grow.


    “It takes a lot of hard work to make something simple, to truly understand the underlying challenges and come up with elegant solutions,” Steve Jobs told his biographer Walter Isaacson. Jobs spearheaded a revolution in product design by insisting that Apple “make things intuitively obvious” — a three-year-old can pick up an iPhone and immediately know how to use it.

    Similarly, organisations thrive when their purpose, and how they achieve it, is intuitively obvious to all stakeholders — customers, members, staff, communities or shareholders. Our role as directors and organisational leaders is to think deeply of the underlying challenges our organisations face, stare into the complexity, and then give our people that clarity. At the AICD, we need to ask how we make it simpler and easier for you, our members, to achieve your goals and to interact with us. You should be able to see immediately how we can help you in your career as a director.

    Over this quarter, I am traveling around the country meeting members at the Essential Director Update roadshow and the AICD’s end- of-year dinners. I want to hear from you on your hopes and aspirations for your Institute and the challenges and opportunities you are seeing on your boards. Please come say hello.

    On issues where the AICD is making a difference — from director liability to our Reconciliation Action Plan — it is your leadership and influence that makes us strong. I am looking forward to working with you.

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