Why not train directors to succeed?

I was talking with a friend this afternoon about Usain Bolt.

Usain is arguably the best and fastest runner there has ever been.

He has made a massive positive difference in the lives of underprivileged children in the country of his birth, and also in the lives of many other people who have been touched and inspired by his greatness.

Can you imagine what the world would be like if, when Usain Bolt first started running, the coaches and staff at his junior athletics club had said something along the lines of “Usain is giving up his valuable after-school time to come along here and be part of our running club. It really isn’t fair to ask him to invest more time and effort to learn how to run well.”

Had they said that, I think it’s safe to say that he would never have had the impact that he achieved, which just brings it home to me how much of a disservice CEOs, and other well intentioned board members, are doing their company when they say of their board colleagues, “They’re already giving up their time outside work to help our cause. How could we possibly ask them to learn how to be better directors and how to have a bigger, better impact, whilst they are on the board?”

Why would you not ask them? Dan Pallota once said “People want their lives to matter. They want to make a difference — a big difference.” Your directors are people. They don’t want to do the least they can do; they want to do the best they can do. They want to make a difference — a big difference!

Do you think they are on your board just to pass their time?

Or do you think they are there because they want your company to succeed?

Just as Usain Bolt would never have become such a great runner if he had not learned how to run well, as well as simply turning up and running around the track, then taking part in competitions. And would never have become a champion if he had not then then invested more time and effort in running better and faster. So, too would many great board members never have been able to make the impact they have made on their boards, whether for profit or not for profit, without knowing:

- how to direct

- what the role of the board is, and

- how to fulfill that role so that the board maximizes its impact on the performance of the organization.

They don’t want to just turn up for board meetings, sign the annual report and attend an AGM. They want to make an impact.

Yes, anybody can get onto a board, just as anybody can compete in a competition. It is the competitors who train that that become champions and have an impact on the world.

Is a lack of training holding your board back from greatness?

And if the answer to that is ‘yes’, when will you take action and build a champion board?

The future of your company will depend on the performance of your board. Train them to succeed.

By Julie Garland Mclellan

Julie Garland McLellan is the professional company director and corporate governance consultant that leading chairs and directors turn to for practical advice and quality education that makes a difference in the ability of their board to generate winning company performance.

She is the author of the “Director’s Dilemma” newsletter, “Presenting to Boards”, “Not-For-Profit Board Dilemmas: Practical Case Studies for Directors in the Non-Profit Sector”, “Dilemmas, Dilemmas” and “All above Board: Great Governance for the Government Sector”.

Julie undertakes board and director appraisals; her in-boardroom education is characterised by a practical approach using real-life scenarios to build rich interactive learning experiences. She facilitates difficult meetings with tact and vigour; her guidance behind the scenes has helped many boards, CEOs and chairmen to turn difficult situations into successful outcomes.

If you think Julie could help catalyse your board success contact her for an initial scoping call using this link: https://calendly.com/julie-gm/getting-to-know-you.

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Julie Garland McLellan

Julie Garland McLellan

Julie Garland McLellan advises boards and directors on how to maximise board impact and drive legacy-building company transformations.