Help analyse the underlying causes, strengths and weaknesses, market forces and factors that affect performance to determine the optimum objectives that the organization may target.
Having briefly defined the role of the Board we look at how the Board of Directors of Medtronics has performed. Details provided in the case study paint a very positive picture of the proactive role that the Board has played in the success of the Company. It has done all that is required and gone several steps further. The role that the Board has played in strict adherence to the mission statement of the company and, in the drive of the company to excel in technology and quality initiatives is indeed commendable. The Board has been a friend and guide for management, evidenced by the comment of Bill George, "In addition to its traditional role of governance, the Medtronic board is very effective as a sounding board, to advise and consult with management on the challenges we face." (p1) or that of Earl Bakken, "As we have grown and evolved, we have leaned on our board of directors for their direction." (p3).
The active interest that the Board has taken in the operations of the company, their focus on the long term, regardless of below par performance on the financial front, represent some of the peculiarities of the Medtronic board that may not be found in most companies. It is usual for boards to look at only financial performance for the quarter and stop at that. It is truly amazing to find a board that has such faith in the future of the company that temporary setbacks on the earnings per share (see performance results) have not led to the typical automatic reaction. As Bill George points out in his book "Authentic Leadership", the board was successful in grappling with the larger ethical issues of what an organization owes to the public and its employees beyond the narrow obligation to increase shareholder value.
The relationship between the CEO, Bill George and the board are similarly cordial and mutual understanding and respect at a very high level exists. While the CEO handles operational management, he does not consider the careful watch that the board keeps