What we do

What we do

Westlake Governance helps boards and CEOs shine by guiding them through complex governance issues.
Examples of such assignments may include:

  • Reviewing the effectiveness of an organisation’s governance
  • Reviewing the effectiveness of governance structures
  • Helping with the selection and appointment of board members1 and CEOs
  • Training and professional development for boards, board members and chairs
  • Mentoring and coaching of newly-appointed board chairs and CEOs
  • Effectiveness evaluations for the whole board2, and assessments of individual board members and board chairs, with facilitated feedback and action planning
  • Helping a board and CEO develop the organisation’s strategic direction.


Many of our assignments revolve in some way around gaining clarity about the role of the board and its members. To do this, we draw on our deep understanding of governance principles combined with many years’ practical experience.

Westlake Governance has developed and continues to refine the FICKS™ framework, as a practical guide or check on how a board works and spends its time. FICKS™ describes the 5 key functions of a board:

F – Future focus – Working with management on strategy development and execution, making sure you have the right CEO for future success. About 30% of your time.

I – Issues identification – understanding your environment, spotting the trends, identifying and monitoring opportunities and risks, and communicating with your owners and other stakeholders. Another 30%.

C – Compliance – ensuring you adhere to the law, regulations and best practices, and keep the organisation solvent and able to meet its obligations. 15% of your time.

K – KPI (Key Performance Indicator) monitoring – analysing trends and forecasts against budgets, as well as current performance, while avoiding repetitive discussions or questions. 15% of your time.

S – Succession, skills and governance structures – making sure at all times that you have the right people in the right roles at the board table and committees, and in top management. 10% of your time.

This breaks into 3 broader categories:

  • F and I create value – in other words they are concerned with the future – your board should generally aim to spend half to two-thirds of its time here.
  • C and K preserve existing value – the present and recent past – say, 30% of your time.
  • S is about ensuring the ability to keep doing these things in the future – 10% of your time.

A major agenda item for the board may have all 5 elements, and the proportions will vary from meeting to meeting. However, FICKS™ is a useful periodic reality check to keep the board on track, making sure it’s dealing with the right things in the right way, at the right time.

1 Following Westlake Governance’s BASELS™ methodology (‘Board Appointments, based on Skills, Experience, Linkages and Style’)
2 Westlake Governance is the Premier New Zealand Partner of Board Benchmarking – refer www.boardbenchmarking.com