We are never too old to learn
We’re coming to the end of our ‘Top 10 Steps to Being an Effective Director’ series of blogs and I sincerely hope it has been a learning journey.
Which, conveniently, allows us to segue to our final topic – and that’s a desire to continue to learn, continue to improve.
Research, empirical and anecdotal, has long highlighted the fact that we’re at our best when constantly engaged in personal and professional development. We’re never too old to learn and those directors who adhere to this truism are invariably at the top of their game.
Continuous improvement for board members comes in two forms – personal evaluation and ongoing education.
Detailed inductions pivotal to understanding how the organisation works
Effective board members understand how the organisation they are on the board of works. While there are doubtless many avenues to gaining an understanding of how an organisation works, few can be as imperative as a detailed and thorough induction process.
And yet recent research tells us that a staggering 83 per cent of board members feel less than satisfied with what passed as ‘induction’ when they assumed their board positions.
That’s pretty damn scary – and all I can say is that new board members should DEMAND an effective induction, one that’s more than a series of introductions and a copy of the minutes from the last year’s board meetings but rather, a well-planned process delivered in digestible servings over several months.
Get inductions right and you’ll reap some serious rewards
You’d think board inductions would rank highly when new directors are appointed. After all, the sooner they understand the workings of the organisation, the sooner they’ll be up to speed and making a valuable contribution.
You’d be wrong, though, as there are still too many boards mired in the old-fashioned belief that people appointed to boards are so well-credentialed and experienced that they just slot in. All they need is access to a mountain of historical board papers and minutes before being sent off to peruse the material…and with a supposedly comforting ‘…if you have any questions, don’t be shy to ask.”
Real Listening To Hear What Is Being Said
It takes real listening to hear what’s actually being said
A while back I was asked a pretty challenging question: what do you believe are the seven key characteristics of a successful board?
Challenging, I guess, because there are many attributes justifiably vying for a spot in the seven. And while I pondered a good number of these, it didn’t take me long to scribble down ‘listening’ as a major trait prevalent on all winning boards.
That’s probably because it’s such a flaw in life generally and in business particularly. An uncomfortable truth is that our technological society and our reliance on communication tools like iPhones and email means we tend to ‘hear’ rather than ‘listen’.
In fact, really, honestly listening to customers happens so seldom these days that you can actually gain a competitive advantage just by doing it.
Like everything else, though, becoming good at it takes time and effort. We need to learn how to listen and then practice our listening skills, day in and day out.
I’d like to think Governance Matters has been listening.
Think beyond the box and boardroom dynamics could be just a click away
The world’s a rapidly changing place and the boardroom is no exception, which probably explains why the most effective boards are those that think beyond the box and eagerly embrace whatever’s needed to keep them abreast of good governance best practice.
It’s an attitude that takes the more mundane boardroom mechanics to a whole new level of boardroom dynamics and the starting point is to look beyond the narrow confines and comfort of your business environment and discover what other sectors are doing – nationally and internationally. Continue reading