Friday, 8 May 2009

Newsletter Issue 165, May 2009

Sam Young Newsletter

Issue 165, May 2009
Hi guys,
It is always good to give ourselves a little reminder of our Directors' Responsibilities. Read on!
Giving is the new taking, and sharing is the new giving - check out Generation G
Don't forget, if you want to be taken off my mailing list, click here to send me a reply e-mail and I will remove your name.

Directors' Responsibilities

Problems can arise when directors do not understand their governance rights and responsibilities. Stephen Bowman recently published an article detailing a list of director's rights and responsibilities around instructing organisational staff (
Collectively the Board is able to direct action through the CEO, but as individuals, directors have no rights other than to receive all Board information, attend all Board meetings, and have access to past Board papers for up to seven years after they have left the Board. Individual directors are not empowered to direct any organisational staff. It is in the collective nature that the power of the Board lies. To ensure that all new board members understand this, each Board should have an induction process, backed up by a job description that clearly lays out expected behaviours and standards.
The Board is responsible for fiscal responsibility (as per the Financial Reporting Act and the Company's Act), setting the organisational vision and mission and the preparation of the strategic plan, then signing off the CEO's business plan and budget to ensure that the business can achieve the targets set in the strategic plan. The Board should also ensure that they use the strategic plan, vision and mission as the litmus test to make their decisions on management and board proposals, for business cases and for board member conduct.
Board members also need to remember that, regardless of where they come from or whose interests they represent, when they are sitting around the board table, they are there to act in the best interests of this company, on this Board, at this time, which brings me to my next point.
I was reading an article by Dave Moskovitz in the March issue of IOD's Boardroom magazine recently (downloadable for IOD members at Magazine/IOD Boardroom March 09_pdf). Dave proposed that directors take a ‘Hippocratic Oath’, having us promise "In the exercise of my duties as a company director, I will:
  • not deliberately harm our shareholders, other directors, company staff, our suppliers, customers, end-users or members of the public
  • always act within the law, and ensure that the company acts within the law. Where I am unsure of the law, I will seek professional advice
  • commit to act in the best interests of the company, ensure that the company meets its obligations, and strive to make the company responsibly successful in achieving the strategy that is collectively set by the board
  • not seek to derive unfair personal gain from any transactions with the company or its personnel
  • communicate clearly in a respectful and professional manner with my colleagues, being diligent and timely in my record keeping and reporting
  • model behaviour as a director that I would expect from any company personnel
  • not betray the confidentiality of information that has been properly given to me in confidence, nor will I seek personal gain from such information. Likewise, I will disclose without hesitation any information that is required to be made available to government agencies, other directors, stakeholders or the general public."
A very interesting idea; one that would remind us that it is not just our legal obligations that we need to remember as directors, but also our moral duty.
Dave Moskovitz is Chairman of WebFund Ltd ( Feedback is welcome on

Generation G

There is a new generation, according to Trendwatchers, "Generation G".
The characteristics of this new trend are that this group captures, in the words of Trendwatchers "the growing importance of 'generosity' as a leading societal and business mindset. As consumers are disgusted with greed and its current dire consequences for the economy—and while that same upheaval has them longing more than ever for institutions that care—the need for more generosity beautifully coincides with the ongoing (and pre-recession) emergence of an online-fueled culture of individuals who share, give, engage, create and collaborate in large numbers. In fact, for many, sharing a passion and receiving recognition have replaced 'taking' as the new status symbol. Businesses should follow this societal/behavioral shift, however much it may oppose their decades-old devotion to me, myself and I.”
Trendwatchers go on to say that there are three key drivers for Generation G. They are; recession and consumer disgust; longing for institutions that care; and that giving is the new taking, and sharing is the new giving. To read more about this phenomenon, go to
For firms, there are ten ways you can get in touch with your sensitive side and really get into sharing, as opposed to taking a CSR position. But be warned - fakers need not apply.
Trendwatchers are a Dutch-based market research firm which put out a very enlightening briefing newsletter to their stakeholders every month or two. Sign up by going to and registering.

Finding Lost Downloads

Lost a downloaded software file lately? It is very frustrating when you mindlessly click the download button, then go & do something else, which turns into something else, then something else... and a week later you remember that you downloaded that little application, but can't remember the name of it, and now can't find it, either.
It is most likely that the file is either an .exe (an executable file) or an .msi file (a Microsoft Installer setup file).
Windows Secrets ran a little help article on this very subject a month or two back ( with a suggested fix.  Run a search on your whole hard drive via Windows Explorer using the advanced search options and enter into the file name window "*.exe, *.msi" and specify your date range. Then the Windows Explorer search engine will grind away & hopefully spit out your item.
However, I have another search option for you which is much faster. Download a little piece of freeware that I told you about in the Newsletter 164 (taking careful note of where you downloaded it to!) from Void Tools called "Everything" at Install the software, then key in "*.exe" and click on the head of the "Last Write Time" column header to sort by date. In zip time you have a full list with the path. Repeat for "*.msi", and perhaps for "*.zip".
Good luck!

TLAs for SMEs

Here are this newsletter's TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms) for you:
  • CSR, Corporate Social Responsibility. The deliberate inclusion of public interest into corporate decision-making, measuring via a triple bottom line of People, Planet and Profit. A system for businesses to measure their adherence to law, ethical standards, and international norms; impact on the environment, consumers, employees, communities, stakeholders and other publics; encouraging community growth and development; and voluntarily eliminating practices that harm the public sphere, regardless of legality.
Please feel free to email me with any TLAs that you want to get the bottom (meaning!) of.

Tips, Short+Hot Keys
Over the next few newsletters, we are going to look at all you can do with Alt, Shift, Ctrl and backspace:
  • Access "Delete the selection or the character to the left of the insertion point" Backspace
  • Excel "Delete the character to the left of the insertion point, or delete the selection or edit the active cell and then clear it, or delete the preceding character in the active cell as you edit cell contents" Backspace
  • PowerPoint "Delete one character to the left or go to the previous slide or perform the previous animation or return to the previous slide" Backspace
  • Publisher "Delete one character to the left of the insertion point" Backspace
  • Explorer "View the folder one level up, display the contents of the parent directory of an active directory while working in Tree View; it may open a new window, depending on the options selected" Backspace
  • Frontpage "Delete one character to the left" Backspace
  • IE "Go to the previous page " Backspace
  • Windows "View the folder one level up" Backspace
  • Word "Delete selected text or to delete the character to the left of where is positioned while editing" Backspace

Hot Linx
If you need any help with understanding how to reference for academic writing, then Purdue University in the US have a wonderful treasure trove of information, available online at Check out the shortcuts on the right-hand side of the page :-)
Hudson Global Resources have a new report out posing the question "could the best man for the job be a woman?". View the global report from the NZ website at
How's this for a great new way to find a carpark! Go to and seek a park near your work - or you urbanites can list a spare space that you have at your place during the day
And to ensure you get just the right gear for that thing you want to do, check out the website for all the items you could possibly need. Like TradeMe, you can select by area to see what is available close to home :-)

                                Catch you again soon!! E-mail your suggestions to me here

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