Next generation boards critical

The Launch of the Center for Effective Board leadership last week perfectly coincides with the promulgation of the Corporate Governance Bill for state-owned enterprises which will become law very soon.

People management issues with Robert Mandeya

The implication of these two developments is a reflection of the new thrust towards good corporate governance not only in state-owned enterprises, but also across the entire business sector. The Next Generation Board leadership, which is the flagship for the centre for effective board leadership, seeks to prepare those aspiring to run successful board tenures with the requisite capacity for such.

Business related challenges

In pursuit of capacitating board members to meet current expectations in business today, the Next Generation Programme has included in its training the aspect of participants working on real business related challenges. The ever-changing business environment is continually presenting business challenges which call for adeptness and strategic thinking. Without the correct and relevant understanding of issues, solutions to current challenges will lack the depth and creativity that modern Board leadership demands.

Board performance

With the promulgation of the corporate governance bill for state owned enterprises there is a growing expectation of Board performance across business sectors. With the thirst for innovation and impact, board leadership must be capacitated to respond to key challenges facing entities in order to address today’s business challenges. Together we will define what should constitute an effective Board. Sitting on a board of directors should be one of the most self-fulfilling experiences one can ever achieve, yet for some it is a total nightmare. Serving on a good board should be such a pleasant, educational, and a rewarding experience. When the opposite is true, it can be exacerbating, draining of energy and very frustrating.

Personal growth and development

Having a clear purpose for you and other members and a plan for building and managing your board can greatly increase your chances of personal success and having a powerful impact on your business. The programme will help you ensure there is symmetry between your personal growth and that of the business you are leading at board level.

In most organisations– whether it is a public corporation or a civic organisation – the composition of a strong leadership, always leads to a well-run organisation and a well-functioning board. With a confident and mature CEO there most often will be a strong lead director or chair of the board. Both of these positions must be filled with well-meaning and strong individuals of integral character. If not, the leadership on the board must be instrumental in weeding out unqualified board members and those board members who are disruptive and unprepared. Some may need coaching and others may need to be plainly relieved of their board duties.

Competitive advantage

Given the turbulence in global and local markets the next generation of board leaders needs to possess the craft competence to stir their organisations through the volatile and unstable economic environment. A well-functioning board requires diversity of thought, experience, gender, and culture. If all of the board members think and act alike, their decisions will reflect their lack of diversity. I do not only mean culture and gender. Well run boards also reflect diversity of age, experience, and industry that include complementary skills such as risk management, channel distribution, sales, marketing, human resources, compensation, information technology, finance, fundraising, and industry vertical knowledge. A board needs to be clear about duties, roles and responsibilities of it’s directors in the recruiting process to ensure that applicants expectations and the organisation are aligned.

Peer to peer learning

The Next Generation Board Leadership programme is structured to facilitate peer to peer learning. Learning from and with others also ensures that there is a cross pollination of ideas and experiences. We expose participants to a number of exercises and activities that encourage peer learning and sharing, not to mention the huge networking opportunity the programme presents. This programme is intended to be a major learning experience. It will provide an opportunity for enhancing participants’ capability as forward-looking board members and company secretaries as well as giving time for reflection and self-evaluation in a different and informal atmosphere. The learning process is deliberately diverse and includes –

Facilitated Sessions

  • Case studies;
  • Candid sharing of knowledge and experiences with programme participants and Facilitators; and
  • Experiential “Action – based’ learning through the Business Project.

Strategically minded

An organisation with a strong strategic direction, where the CEO, chair, directors, and management are most qualified and focussed is most often the organisation that will have a strong board and will be successful. It does not matter whether it is a start-up, a charity or a learning institution. When the board is holding the CEO accountable for this strategic direction and the directors are not getting their fingers, or worse, noses into the weeds or micro-operations of the company, the best chance of success exists.

Mandeya is an executive coach, trainer in human capital development and corporate education, a certified leadership and professional development practitioner and founder of the Leadership Institute for Research and Development (LiRD). — robert@lird.co.zw, info@lird.co.zw or +263 772 466 925.

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