Sweet Homecoming

Tesse Akpeki

Tesse in Belfast. Sweet Homecoming

Though born in London, I grew up in Belfast.  We spent holidays in Atrium and also the Republic of Ireland.  This year I decided to go back to Ireland to race my roots.  I did not quite know what to expect.   Having grown up in care, growing up was a mixed experience.   A ‘who do you think you are’ experience can have very different outcomes, but you never know until you try.     It was so therapeutic.   It was definitely a worthwhile homecoming.

Nature or nurture?  I think it is both. Belfast and Donegal really reached me in a deep place.   As I connected with my childlike experience, there was a lot of healing going on.    When I work with organisations or groups, I encourage them to go back.  Going back to the beginning can help organisations and groups to be more aware of what makes them tick and be clear about their identity.  It reignites passion and the memories that can help the organisation, the staff, the volunteers and the supporters to connect when things get tough.  Returning to the beginning is not a luxury, it is a necessity, which can be energising, reinvigorating, strengthening and motivating.

World Cup lessons Leading with Impact

The last 3 World Cups have been won by European teams – Italy, Spain and now Germany – the first European team that has triumphed on South American Soil.  Following a wait of 24 years, 171 goals and 64 games (in the 2014 World Cup),  the German win seems  celebrate a festival of team work , a team system designed to produce world champions , a team triumph a  demonstration of German engineering.   I found the World cup Finals enthralling to watch – a talented, special and sublime finish with a wonderful goal.
Much has been written about a German system designed to produce world champions utilising an approach that was sought after, planned and carefully crafted .  No one can play a team game alone.  This was all about getting it together as a team.  The Champions,  a team grown from the under 21s    just over six years ago now  offer a golden generation of football talent.  While the winning goal was scored by a substitute and (arguably the best goal to win with a brilliant  technique and outstanding finish), there is no doubting that  the winning side was superbly organised with many talented players who  provided a feast of goals and a German defence without many cracks.

Lesson Learnt

1.    The German team had to sit down have a hard look at who they were, look at other models, take a professional approach and add bits that would sustain success. Redesigning our leadership approaches can be pretty similar

2.    The team gelled together, made sure they had natural finishers and kept their eye on the prize, believing they could do it.  This bears the hallmarks of any effective team working.

3.    The players (and their Coach) oozed calmness even when things did not look that great. I admired their ability to maintain a strong backline and stand firm when weathering the storms of tough matches.

4.    They stepped out.  I love the saying of Jim Rohn, ‘dreams get your started, discipline keeps you going’.   There was no shortage of focus, discipline or belief here.  They believed the best was yet to come!

5.    Succession planning and strengthening the pipeline was key.  The final match was not won in 2 hours, it took vast investments of time, effort, talent, resources and money.   Strong governance and leadership is achieved by investment, not the lack of it.

I wonder what it was that took them over the line in the dying minutes of extra time?  What provided the extra motivation to win?  In board rooms across the world, I suspect the motivations to succeed will be different for each organisation, but without the commitment to succeed, resilience and a clear goal, I think it will be challenging to navigate the storms!


Seven Questions To Get The Board Members You Want

Board service is a gift and a privilege. Do we make it sound as such? Here are some questions you should ask in a board interview to get the best possible board members.

  1. What do you know about our organisation? What more would you like to know? Why are you interested in committing your time and energy to us?
  2. What do you think are the characteristics of a great board member? Which ones do you demonstrate?
  3. Having known the minimum level of time required to serve on the board, can you make a commitment to board service?
  4. Can you tell us about your previous board (or committee) experience ? What were the comfort levels? What were the success touch points? Which ones do you think you can use here?
  5. There will be some activity between board meetings. Would you be willing to commit to beyond just attending board meetings?
  6. Board members bring experience, wisdom, and strategic thinking. How would you like to utilise yours?
  7. What would help make this a really great experience for you?