How becoming a non-executive director could help your career

October 31, 2012

Re-posted from the Guardian Thursday 4 October 2012

Many professionals with portfolio careers become non-executive directors to gain extra experience and income. Robert Wright discusses how to secure a position and balance the workload

Over the last decade there has been a growth in ‘portfolio careers’ – a living derived from having multiple simultaneous jobs on a part-time, flexible, consulting or interim basis.

Those juggling such careers cite the positives that derive from having exciting variety or the better work-life balance and greater flexibility afforded by being their own boss. What is not often mentioned is the constant strain of keeping all these plates spinning while securing the next piece of work; a magic trick some seem to achieve effortlessly while others toil and sweat.

Often a useful way some portfolioists derive a more reliable income stream is by including one or two remunerated non-executive director (NED) positions. Such roles not only benefit them by providing a regular salary, but also help develop skills, profile and credibility in other lines of work.

NEDs sit on the boards of many public, private and not-for-profit organisations, working as a ‘critical friend’ scrutinising the organisation’s performance and offering strategic input and advice to the executive team. How often they meet and what duties they are required to perform varies between organisations.

NEDs can, however, expect at least a monthly commitment to attend meetings (having read the necessary board reports), plus further meetings if appointed to a sub-committee dealing with specific issues such as remuneration and finance. They may be required to be present at public events, such as an opening of a new building, and some boards also provide training and team development away-days that will require a time commitment (sometimes overnight).

Janet Dean, for instance, runs a housing and regeneration consultancy, is chair of a drugs and alcohol abuse treatment service provider, deputy chair of governors for a university and NED of an NHS primary care trust. She aims for a mix of three days a week of interim project commitments with two days as an NED – a mix she admits is sometimes hard to achieve and maintain.

The opportunity to connect with an organisation on a long-term basis as it develops and goes on a journey has made Janet appreciate the dynamics and tensions that can exist between boards and executive teams. This has benefited her interim project work because clients see her as someone who understands the strategic – not just operational – needs and can speak to all the key stakeholders.

Breaking through into the non-executive world and achieving the first post can be tricky. Often people wanting to be NEDs face the experience/opportunity catch-22 that many first-time job seekers and graduates encounter – can’t get a job because without the experience but can’t get the experience without the job. Boards appointing new NEDs are often looking to find people that already have experience of how a board operates and know how a good NED can make a difference.

A good way to start is to seek out quasi-board positions, such as sitting on strategic partnership teams above projects being delivered by organisations in joint-venture partnerships. This will give you experience of what it’s like to offer strategic input and vision while not having direct executive responsibility for the project.

You could also secure a non-remunerated NED role. These posts are usually found in public, not-for-profit or third sector organisations such social landlords, charities and community groups. They are a great way to get a foothold in the non-executive market and prove you have the skills to be an active board member.

Many NEDs find that once they have that first board-level role under their belt, they can access further non-executive opportunities more easily. They are more firmly on the radar of organisations seeking new board members as well as other interim or portfolio work.

Andy Brown, a former executive of The Burton Group, Boots, Sky TV and ASDA now acts as a business consultant while also being an NED for various companies and a member of Yorkshire Cancer Research’s board. “There’s no question that acting as an NED gives you a bit of extra credibility”, he said, and although, “it seems to be quite tricky to get into the NED game in the first place, working with [organisations] at board level on strategy and other pretty sensitive things shows others you are useful to have around”.

Andy’s advice for those seeking a first step into the world of NEDs is: “in the first instance, be persistent and keep at it [and] once you are up and running … keep your different things separate – I use a number of web tools to keep my papers in the cloud and manage my time.”

It should also be noted that boards will sometimes seek out new members with certain skills and backgrounds that may be required by the organisation at that point in time. For instance, a non-executive board member with a finance background may be of more interest if there is an audit or executive salary review due. The NEDs won’t be expected to roll their sleeves up and help deliver operational challenges but they will be expected to ask the right questions of the executive team to safeguard the health and performance of the organisation on behalf of its staff, stakeholders and customers.

Taking on a NED role while also maintaining a portfolio career can be a tricky balancing act. Boards will have established and non-negotiable meeting dates, which you will be expected to commit to, and this can create tension when clients come calling with new or extra work. Many NEDs talk of the need to find a ‘balance of commitment’. They are regularly tested by the dilemma of accepting another NED position that can provide a steady income, intellectual interest and a bit of kudos while also holding out for that next big (and possibly more lucrative) chunk of interim or project work that will require blood, sweat, tears. But if that balance can be achieved the benefits to a career portfolioist can be very rewarding.

Robert Wright is a recruitment consultant for NRG Executive. You can follow him on LinkedIn or Twitter

excellencia - excellence in leadership = leadership in excellence
provide regular non-executive director training courses in Oxford and Bristol.

NEDworks - the network for non-executive directors
is the network for non-executive Chairs and directors in private, public and not-for-profit organisations.

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How to become a Non-Executive Director – Bristol 19 November 2012

October 31, 2012

The How to become a Non-Executive Director course helps you to plan and prepare for your first NED position. It instils a real sense of what is expected of NEDs, and how you can meet the challenge.
How to become a Non-Executive Director

This one-day interactive course is aimed at aspiring NEDs and covers essential knowledge about roles, responsibilities, strategy and corporate governance that are key foundations for a Non-Executive board role. It also considers up to date thinking on corporate governance and the responsibilities of owners, the board and employees.

This is followed by practical sessions on identifying NED opportunities, the process of obtaining a first appointment and performing due diligence before any position is accepted. There is emphasis on the importance of presenting your experiences with clarity and relevance.

“The material, the course leader’s insights, and the opportunity to share thoughts and feelings with similarly inclined business people, made for a really valuable day. I came away with some clear actions.”
Bernard Grenville-Jones Co-Founder, Company Director and Head of Operations OAC Actuaries and Consultants (OAC plc)
“This one day course is an excellent overview, providing real advice and very helpful information for those Directors who are interested in developing a non-exec portfolio.”
Julian Dennis, Director Compliance & Sustainability at Wessex Water, Bath, United Kingdom

This course identifies the various ways and circumstances in which non-executive directors can make an effective contribution to a board’s work. It also examines methods for their selection and reviews their motivation, induction and reward.

Who should attend?
Individuals who are currently a non-executive director; those seeking appointment as a non-executive director and those looking to appoint a non-executive director.

What to expect?

  • Clarifies how and why non-executive directors can strengthen a board
  • Provides practical guidance on how best to secure an appointment as a non-executive director

Course objectives
Participation on this course will provide you with the knowledge to:

  • Clarify the board’s role, purpose and key tasks
  • Appreciate the contributions that non-executive directors can make to the board in different types of company and situations
  • Recognise the qualities and experience needed to fulfil a non-executive director appointment
  • Appreciate appropriate methods for finding, selecting, appointing and rewarding non-executive directors
  • Understand the preparation required to interview for or be interviewed for the post of non-executive director

Course Leader: David Doughty CDir FIoD

David Doughty - Chartered DirectorThe course is delivered by David Doughty, a Chartered Director and highly experienced Non-Executive, Chief Executive, Chair, Entrepreneur and Business Mentor. David has extensive executive and non-executive experience in small and medium enterprises in private and public sectors. He is also a board level consultant to multi-national organisations and a Chartered Director Ambassador for the Institute of Directors. See his LinkedIn profile here: (http://uk.linkedin.com/in/daviddoughty)

Key Details
Duration: 1 day
Location:

Institute of Directors Bristol
14 Orchard Street
Bristol
BS1 5EH 

Price

£330.00 (ex VAT)

Early Bird Discount Price
£300.00 (ex VAT)

Book Now
To see course dates and to book your place now follow this link:
Course Registration
The fee includes lunch, refreshments and a copy of the course handbook

Attendance counts as 6 CPD hours of structured learning


How best to choose and get the most out of an audit committee.

October 9, 2012

 

What criteria should be used in selecting an audit committee?

The fundamental criterion for the selection of audit committee members is that they are independent non-executive directors. It is important that at least one of the members of an audit committee has a financial background and it is essential that all audit committee members have a basic understanding of financial matters.

The audit committee must operate independently of any executive management processes and be seen to be operating with a high degree of objectivity. It is considered good practice for the audit committee to consist of at least three non-executive directors, with a quorum of two. The Chairman of the organisation should not be a member of the audit committee.

The audit committee Chairman should be a senior non-executive director – not the Chairman of the organisation’s board and not a newly appointed non-executive director.

The Chairman of the organisation, the Chief Executive, other executive directors and senior managers will often attend audit committee meetings at the invitation of the audit committee Chairman. It is quite common for the Finance Director to regularly attend audit committee meetings.

The audit committee Chairman will plan the agenda on an annual rolling basis and will invite specific executives or senior managers to attend on particular occasions to provide assurances and explanations regarding their areas of functional responsibility.

Normally, representatives from the internal and external audit providers, together with the Company Secretary will regularly attend committee meetings and there should be a designated note-taker, who will not be one of the non-executive directors,

How can independent non-executive directors (INEDs) best serve an audit committee?

The purpose of an audit committee is to give confidence to the Board in the reliance it places on its sources of assurance. The role of the independent non-executive director members of the audit committee is to critically review the organisation’s governance and assurance processes at a sufficient level of detail to enable the Board to operate strategically with confidence in the day to day management of the organisation.

Audit committee members need to be mindful that if ever there was a crisis in the organisation then one of the first questions people will ask is “what were the audit committee doing?” They should be asking themselves “what could go wrong?” and do we have the right controls in place to either prevent things from going wrong or to address them rapidly and effectively if they do. The independent non-executive directors on the audit committee need to make sure that the risk and performance management systems are fit for purpose and that they are underpinned by an Assurance Framework.

The Assurance Framework is the ‘lens’ through which the Board examines the assurance it requires to discharge its duties. The key question Board members need to ask is ‘How do we know what we know?’ The Assurance Framework should provide the answer.

Audit committee members, rightly, focus on internal financial control matters and the annual audit takes up a significant amount of their time. However, they also need to look at risk, quality and performance to ensure the Board has sufficient assurance in non-financial metrics as well as the financial ones.

Other duties of an audit committee member include ensuring that there is a culture which encourages the reporting of serious incidents and near-misses with a clear whistle-blowing policy; critically evaluating the performance of internal and external auditors and taking part in the selection and recommendation for appointment or re-appointment of the auditors to the Board

How could professional organisations help to improve the quality of audit committees?

Organisations can improve the quality of audit committees by:

  • Issuing guidance on the role, responsibilities and duties of an audit committee member
  • Issuing guidance on the selection criteria for audit committee members and working with recruiters and search and selection providers to ensure that they are clearly articulated to potential recruits
  • Lobbying for the adoption of a recognised qualification such as the Institute of Directors’ Chartered Director as the pre-requisite for audit committee members
  • Providing training and on-going support for audit committee members to ensure that they have sufficient CPD (the Chartered Director requirement is 30 hours per annum)

How can an audit committee work best with internal and external auditors?

The audit committee agrees the annual programme of work for the internal and external auditors together with the associated costs. Performance against these programmes is then monitored by the audit committee on a regular basis.

It is essential that the audit committee has a good working relationship with the internal and external audit providers as they can provide both assurance and insight into the management arrangements within the organisation.

The Head of Internal Audit is required to provide the audit committee with an annual opinion on the overall adequacy and effectiveness of the organisation’s risk management, control and governance processes.

The audit committee is also responsible for making recommendations to the Board about the appointment or re-appointment of the internal and external auditors.

Representatives of both the internal and external auditors will normally attend most audit committee meetings though there may well be a private session of the committee before the main meeting from which the internal and external auditors are excluded. The audit committee Chairman is also likely to have contact with the internal and external audit team leads outside of committee meetings if there are urgent matters to be discussed or concerns that need to be raised.

Directors often serve on multiple companies. What effect can this have on their oversight?

It is quite common for non-executive directors to serve on more than one Board and they may well serve on multiple audit committees. In these circumstances the normal ‘conflict of interests’ procedures should apply and there should be a standing item at the beginning of the audit committee agenda calling on members to declare any areas of possible conflict of interest in the matters to be discussed on the agenda. There should also be a register of interests for all directors which should be reviewed annually.

Non-Executive Directors should also avoid, where possible, being members of the audit committees of two organisations in the same sector who are possible in competition with each other.

Providing that any potential conflicts of interest are dealt with in an open and transparent manner then it can be an advantage for non-executive directors to be members of multiple audit committees as they can bring experience of best practice and different ways of working.

What sort of training programmes exist for INEDs that could help companies move towards international best practices?

The ideal training program for independent non-executive directors is the Chartered Director qualification from the Institute of Directors. This should be a pre-requisite for all company directors.

Additionally there are the Certificate and Diploma in Company Direction from the Institute of Directors, the Financial Times Non-Executive Director Certificate and Non-Executive Director courses from Excellencia.

Audit committees should review their performance annually and consider their own training needs to ensure that members have the skills to perform their role effectively.

Every audit committee member should have an appropriate understanding of finance, internal control, governance, risk, quality, performance and assurance, which will need to be kept up to date as legislation and best practice changes.

 


Introduction to Marketing for Small Charities

October 8, 2012

Introduction to Marketing for Small Charities

Date: Friday 14th Dec 2012

Time: 9:30am – 4:30pm

Location: London

Venue: Institute of Fundraising – London

Directions / Address

This course is for anyone looking to find out more about marketing. It will ground you in the essentials of marketing theory and practice, and give you practical knowledge to take back and use in the workplace.

By taking this course you should:

  • Improve your marketing effectiveness
  • Increase your value and career potential

By the end of this course you will:

  • Understand the function of marketing and its role in not-for-profit organisations
  • Know about the Marketing Planning Process, to improve the effectiveness
    and efficiency of your organisation and it’s resources
  • Understand more about clients, donors, sponsors and other stakeholders
    and managing relationships with them
  • Be able to communicate to both internal and external audiences
    using an appropriate variety of different means

The following topics will be covered:

  • Definition & development of marketing
  • Developing a market orientation
  • Role of marketing in an organisation
  • Introduction to marketing planning
  • Building marketing plans with a ‘winning edge’
  • Marketplace assessment and market research (3 Greeks, STEEPLE, SWOT & 5 Forces)
  • Customers, Competitors and the Company (3 C’s)
  • Setting Meaningful SMART Objectives
  • The Role of Strategy – How to develop and implement it (Gap analysis & Ansoff Matrix)
  • Deciding on a Strategy – Being different
  • How to successfully segment markets
  • Targeting and Positioning
  • The Marketing Mix (7P’s)
  • A look at services, new service & offer development, the product life cycles (PLC)
  • How to develop and manage brands
  • Marketing communications – Cut through the noise
  • Message, Market, Method (3 M’s)
  • Advertising, PR & digital marketing
  • Project Management
  • Controlling the outcome

The course has been developed and will be delivered by Peter Rees DipM FCIM FRSA MCIPR MIDM Chartered Marketer, who has over 36 years of international business experience, over half of which has been in Marketing.

Cost £20

(This training course is only available to small charities with a voluntary annual income of £1 million or less. Individuals working on a freelance consultancy basis will not be accepted onto the course).

Further details and contact information

Lucy
Email: smallcharitiestraining@institute-of-fundraising.org.uk
Telephone: 0207 840 1020

BOOK NOW


Are you thinking about becoming a Non-Executive Director?

October 4, 2012

 

The How to become a Non-Executive Director course helps you to plan and prepare for your first NED position. It instils a real sense of what is expected of NEDs, and how you can meet the challenge.
How to become a Non-Executive Director

This one-day interactive course is aimed at aspiring NEDs and covers essential knowledge about roles, responsibilities, strategy and corporate governance that are key foundations for a Non-Executive board role. It also considers up to date thinking on corporate governance and the responsibilities of owners, the board and employees.

This is followed by practical sessions on identifying NED opportunities, the process of obtaining a first appointment and performing due diligence before any position is accepted. There is emphasis on the importance of presenting your experiences with clarity and relevance.

This course identifies the various ways and circumstances in which non-executive directors can make an effective contribution to a board’s work. It also examines methods for their selection and reviews their motivation, induction and reward.

Who should attend?
Individuals who are currently a non-executive director; those seeking appointment as a non-executive director and those looking to appoint a non-executive director.

What to expect?

  • Clarifies how and why non-executive directors can strengthen a board
  • Provides practical guidance on how best to secure an appointment as a non-executive director

Course objectives
Participation on this course will provide you with the knowledge to:

  • Clarify the board’s role, purpose and key tasks
  • Appreciate the contributions that non-executive directors can make to the board in different types of company and situations
  • Recognise the qualities and experience needed to fulfil a non-executive director appointment
  • Appreciate appropriate methods for finding, selecting, appointing and rewarding non-executive directors
  • Understand the preparation required to interview for or be interviewed for the post of non-executive director

Course Leader: David Doughty CDir FIoD

David Doughty - Chartered DirectorThe course is delivered by David Doughty, a Chartered Director and highly experienced Non-Executive, Chief Executive, Chair, Entrepreneur and Business Mentor. David has extensive executive and non-executive experience in small and medium enterprises in private and public sectors. He is also a board level consultant to multi-national organisations and a Chartered Director Ambassador for the Institute of Directors. See his LinkedIn profile here: (http://uk.linkedin.com/in/daviddoughty)

Key Details
Duration: 1 day
Location:

Institute of Directors Bristol
14 Orchard Street
Bristol BS1 5EH 

Price

£330.00 (ex VAT)

Early Bird Discount Price
£300.00 (ex VAT)

Book Now
To see course dates and to book your place now follow this link:
Course Registration
The fee includes lunch, refreshments and a copy of the course handbook

excellencia limited – your route to leadership excellence

 


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