The Future of the American
A Framework for Governing into the Future
Building High-Performance Governance
Ten principles to help boards improve performance for a more demanding, inclusive, and turbulent future
This report is exclusively for NACD members
Governing Disruption Is the New Normal
In a world that seems less governable, the quality of board governance is increasingly vital to the sustainability of our enterprises and trust in our market economy.
The Future of the American Board Report: A Framework for Governing into the Future is based on 10 principles that guide boards to become better stewards of long-term value creation for their stakeholders. It was designed to help meet the broadening expectations, challenges, and uncertain dynamics that will be facing businesses in the coming decade.
The framework offers a clear road map for building high-performance governance in the face of the most influential trends shaping society and transforming businesses. Directors can apply and adapt the framework using implementation guidance included with each principle and Blueprints for key board committees.
The First Three Principles in the Framework
Principle One: Corporate Purpose
The company’s purpose as defined by the problems addressed and the needs filled by its goods and/or services, should drive its behavior, shape its governance, and position the company to create sustainable long-term value.
Principle Two: Responsibility & Accountability
The board is responsible for the long-term sustainable performance of the company, and governance structures and practices should be designed by the board to position it to function effectively, efficiently, and in an accountable manner.
Principle Three: Objectivity & Oversight
Governance structures and practices should position the board to provide objective judgment and active oversight, supported by board leadership that is distinct from management.
Join NACD to get access to this and other member-exclusive reports.
Blueprints: Translating Principles to Board Committees
Each Blueprint was developed with a working group of board leaders, led by NACD content partners. The Blueprints focus on the application of the principles within committees.
NACD established a commission of 19 corporate governance leaders and experts to reassess the NACD Key Agreed Principles released in 2011.
Starting in January 2022, the commission met over a six-month period to develop The Future of the American Board Report: A Framework for Governing into the Future. The group was cochaired by Sue Cole (managing partner, SAGE Leadership & Strategy; director, Biscuitville Inc., Diversified Trust Co., Martin Marietta Materials Inc.; and chair, NACD) and Bill McNabb (director, Altruist Corp., Axiom Global, Evelyn Partners, IBM, Nexii, UnitedHealth Group Inc., and Vanilla). The complete list of commissioners is included in the report.
Blue Ribbon Commission
Proven approaches to defining and maintaining a robust board.
NACD In the News
Commission cochairs’ Bill McNabb discusses the Future of the American Board Report.
Read the commission cochairs’ vision for current and future board success.