The Fish Rots From the Head

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

Bob Garratt

Publisher: HarperCollins, 1996, 225 pages

ISBN: 0-00-638670-9

Keywords: Board of Directors

Last modified: Aug. 7, 2021, 4:45 p.m.

An organization's success or failure depends on the performance of its board — an ancient Chinese saying is that 'the fish rots from the head'. Yet the vast majority of directors admit that they have had no training for their role and are not sure what it entails.

As boards' activities are made more and more transparent under national and international law, there is an urgent need for a transformation in the way directors' competencies are developed.

Bob Garrat argues that directors need to learn new thinking skills to apply to the intellectual activities of direction-giving and implementing strategy. They need to develop a broader mindset to deal with the uncertainty of higher-level issues such as policy formulation, strategic thinking, supervision of management and accountability.

The Fish Rots from the Head is the first book to clarify and integrate the roles and tasks of the director and provide a programme of learning. As the tide of regulation swells, no board director can afford to ignore it.

    1. Directing, Not Managing
    2. The Learning Board
  • Performance Aspects of the Board
    1. Policy Formulation
    2. Strategic Thinking
  • Conformance Aspects of the Board
    1. Supervision of Management
    2. Accountability
    3. Development Processes for Boards and Directors
    4. A New Future for Directors?


The Fish Rots From the Head

Reviewed by Roland Buresund

Very Good ******** (8 out of 10)

Last modified: March 30, 2009, 12:02 a.m.

Describes what is regretfully happening in board-rooms (even in Sweden). Should be mandatory reading for board members, regardless of corporate size.


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