Thinking, Doing & Behaving…Your Ingredients for Board Success

Thinking, Doing  & Behaving…Your Ingredients

Tesse Akpeki Boards Success1.Set Mission-Based Goals  for board meetings
2.Make sure board time is put to good use. Utilise new technologies where appropriate
3.Ensure your intellectual & social capital is tapped
4.Periodically assess “How are we doing?” ask “What are we doing?” & “Why”?
5.Optimising  opportunities (quicker OR better decisions)
6.How often are our brilliant ideas put into play?

Servant Leadership a Platform for Effective Leadership

Rev Jerry W Paul

Servant leadership is so impactful, yet many people think of leadership as a means of control and exercising power, sometimes in inappropriate ways.   Power used in the wrong way is very destructive, people are bullied, there is a culture of fear and guilt.   In the short term,  things may appear to be working, but over time, the decay and decline sets in.

I would like to dedicate this blog to my colleague and dear friend Rev Jerry W Paul – Founder of the Deaconess Foundation. Jerry practiced servant leadership.   He was my mentor, teacher and coach.   Jerry had a deep thirst for learning and continuous development and encouraged that in me.   There is a book for everything and Jerry had a way of finding the book that I needed for my teachable moments.

It was Jerry who supported me as I set up my first leadership consultancy trip in the States  after I went freelance in 2005.  He  guided me in how to use learning from the field to enhance organisations and the individuals within them.  Jerry was larger than life.  His sense of humour was second to none.  There was never a dull moment when this really smart and humble man was in a room.   Sadly Jerry left the shores of this world last week.  Much too early in my opinion.   He shall be missed by his family, friends and colleagues.   Jerry was unique.   He was larger than life and he has left a deep hole behind.

For me, I shall cling onto his legacy.   He was a great leader, kind, caring, nurturing, intelligent, wise, smart and compassionate.   With his gentle personality and presence he touched many lives and empowered many organisations.  I am so thankful I got to meet this amazing man.

I thank another dear   friend, Carol Weisman for introducing me to Jerry many years ago.    A man who inspired, guided and supported.  He will not be forgotten.

New Year Intentions for Making Boards Work Better

tickAccording to recent McKinsey’s insight most directors don’t understand the company’s strategy and prioritise short –time gain at the expense of creating long-term value.   Boards are not delivering their core mission which is providing oversight and strategic support for management’s efforts to create long-term value.  The challenge is to strengthen the knowledge of boards and help directors build, maintain and refine a long-term mind-set.

Six Essential Steps to Take

1.     Identify what a director’s ‘fiduciary duty really is.  This entails placing  the company’s interest ahead of one’s own – a duty of loyalty), prudence (applying  proper care, skill and diligence to decisions) and help the company thrive for years into the future.  The board should time more time discussing potential new goods, services, markets and business models as well as what it takes to capture value-creation opportunities with big upsides over the long term.

2.     Select the right people – appoint directors who are independent thinking  and whose experience has specific application for the organisation.

3.     Spend quality time on strategy – this may involve more time on the role, devoting more time to understanding  and shaping strategy.   Board members may need to dedicate  more time on a mixture of field trips, the quality and depth of strategic conversations and the strategic engagement with the organisation

4.     Engage  with stakeholders  which involves understanding the stakeholders and their needs,  facilitating dialogues and engagement with them.  Stakeholders are not an optional extra and there should be channels for direct  feedback and awareness of stakeholder views.

5.     Ensure there is deft handling by board chairs or lead directors alongside CEOs.  There may be a need to shift the culture, behaviour and structure of the board.  Sometimes there is no pain without gain.

6.     Consider the significance of digital technologies (especially social media)   and the associated reputational and cyber security risks.  Social media policies should be discussed at board level and this relevant area should not be managed from outside the boardroom.

Craft the steps with into clear and specific goals and deadlines.   2015 is already looking like it is full of promise!!

Leadership Relationships – for Better or Worse ( Part 2 )

What  are the areas for attention in a leadership partnership?

Tesse Akpeki LeadershipA need for shared goals

A healthy level of commitment to achieve the strategic purpose

A way to work out what is important to either party and how to best communicate this – feedback is critical.

A need for appreciation , recognition, praise and acknowledgement

Ways to develop robust communication – a safe place to share, build trust and confidence

A thorny issue – when is the appropriate time for the pat on the back and strokes and how is this balanced against being a critical friend giving constructive feedback?

How can each partner talk to each other and achieve shared goals for the benefit of the organisation? Continue reading

Leadership Relationships – for Better or Worse

Tesse AkpekiCan a marriage ever be perfect?     How can the partners  come pretty close to the idea?  Is the purpose of marriage closeness?   Are the partners expected to meet every need each other has got?  A recent survey of thousands of married couples highlights areas for unhappiness which hold lessons for leadership partnerships.

Ten reasons why people said they were unhappy

Continue reading

Board Recruitment Deficit: LinkedIn provides an answer

Tesse AkpekiWith social media connecting more people, networks and causes, there is a viable avenue to addressing the deficit in trustee placements.  Delivering Effective Governance: Insights from the boards of larger charities (by Mike Hudson and Jacinta Ashworth) found that the most effective methods of recruiting candidates for board membership were reported to be board member,  staff contacts and public advertisements.  68% used external methods and 10% used only external methods.

Admittedly, more than one approach is needed to counter the board recruitment challenge. LinkedIn,  the professional networking site, offers a free new service called Board Connect to help charities recruit board members who have much-needed skills.  LinkedIn prides itself in matching talents to the right people and engendering strategic partnerships online by professional online connections and sharing. . Continue reading