The speed and breadth of the unfolding COVID-19 crisis is putting nearly every facet of business to the test. Responding to the humanitarian crisis is priority #1, however there are also significant implications for board members who need to be decisive in protecting their people and organisations throughout this current phase of the crisis to the next one and the longer term.

As with any crisis, it is crucial to be transparent, accountable and clear about who is accountable for decision making in a fast-changing environment. The demands of Boards will increase as they take ownership and responsibility for the challenging period we face. Accountability and credibility with stakeholders is key. An effective response and recovery –particularly in the eyes of customers, the workforce and the public –will hinge on transparency and speaking with a single, clear voice whether the news is positive or negative.

The best boards will change more than just what is necessary to survive. Complex and more interwoven supply chains have proven to have downsides as well as upsides, and communication technology has already proved to be an incredible force for good enabling a measure of business continuity and a sense of community to be maintained.

We summarise the key considerations for boards to understand the crisis, including the importance of accountability and the company’s value and purpose in the spotlight in this paper COVID-19: The board’s perspective.