By Mike Stenhouse

Much has been written on the importance of strong governance and over recent times, we have seen a marked increase in the number of experienced executives considering non-executive director appointments as a career option.

When in discussion with many of these aspiring directors, most appear well prepared in terms of understanding the roles and expectations for such appointments. However, completing the technical training requirement is only one step in the process.

I suggest that anybody considering a non-executive director appointment reflects on the following questions:

  • What is your motivation? How will this appointment fit your other commitments and have you considered the obligations and risks involved in non-executive director appointments?
  • What unique skills and experiences can you offer to such an appointment? Are your functional skills truly well developed to the point that you can make a significant contribution on a board? What experience have you had in developing, implementing and monitoring the strategy of an organisation?
  • What preparation have you done beyond completing the mandatory courses? While membership of the Institute of Directors in New Zealand is an important step for many appointments, it is advantageous if this is complemented by experience in a not-for-profit, NGO or a smaller/medium-sized entity to hone your skills.
  • What’s your network like? Can you tap in to broad sector networks and can you articulate well developed views on the opportunities, issues and challenges for the sectors that interest you? Be proactive in meeting the key people who make these decisions.
  • What understanding have you developed of the opportunities that are available and how can you promote your brand in the market? Have you got a governance CV and does it demonstrate your skills and achievements relevant to a governance appointment?
  • Remember that very few people make a full-time living from governance appointments. More commonly, such roles are complemented by full time employment or consulting and personal investment activities which all help to balance the sometimes fragile nature of non-executive director appointments.

Finally, don’t leave it too late. It is increasingly common for Boards to seek candidates in the early to mid-forties age range with relevant experience to contribute. Remember non-executive director appointments are fiercely contested in today’s marketplace and you will need to be well prepared, well networked and skilled to stand out from the crowd.

More information on our Board Services can be found here. Mike's original post on LinkedIn can be found here.
Posted in: News

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