I’ve learn’t a lot and you’ll be thrilled to know that like any parent, I’m about to make a whole new raft of mistakes as we recruit new Non-Executive Directors! But as the Cycle of Change goes, you have to know you have a problem before making change.
It seems that there isn’t a company or charity or social enterprise out there that doesn’t at some stage have issues with its Board. And let’s face it, it’s not like we’re accused of tax evasion, paying shareholders too much or poor governance. It’s just that we’ve not been as effective as we might have been.
So what would I have done differently or will do better this time?
- Shoot for the stars from the start. It’s natural to surround yourself with the people you like, like you and are broadly behind the venture at the start. After all, when no-one has heard of you, you need all the support you can get. So I’m grateful, honestly I am, but I should have been more ambitious in the attention we could have garnered.
- Create a buzz and clear expectations. Getting the Governance paperwork right takes time. I contest that some of this can’t be done at the outset, because you don’t know enough about what the enterprise is. This doesn’t stop you defining the role, its parameters, modus operandi and being really clear up front about this – and how it will likely change.
- Include them, play to their strengths and induct them properly. This is a balance of course. In order not to have just retired people on your Board, they’re likely to be busy too with their own careers and lives. Open and honest conversations about how they want to communicate, how involved they want to be and where they can add value will be vital to getting them most out of them and for them.
- Know the skills you need. Discuss this with others, as it likely involves spotting your weaknesses, gaps and being audacious in where you want the business to go. It contributes to getting them best from them too.
- Love them. Show you value them. Not just bottles of bubbly at Christmas, but by the impact that have had and what you can do for them in return.
- Short terms of office. Actually I got this right. We can set the term and as I like freshness and we don’t stand still, it makes sense for everyone to avoid getting stale or complacent that people move on to the next thing.
I can’t wait to introduce our new team to you. With the right skills, commitment, passion and reasons for being involved, their impact will be huge.