A note from Nick Sturge, Engine Shed Director: A reflection on our first five years
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One of the most significant and unrealised opportunities for the Scale up companies that I speak to is in fact one which is often not known to them: the potential positive impact of having a Non Executive Director involved in their business.
Late in 2017 I gathered a small group of people to talk through the challenges associated with employing a Non Executive Director. We discussed the process from end to end:
> REALISE – Come to the realisation that NEDs can make a valuable contribution to the business.
> RECRUIT – Undertake the recruitment and selection process objectively and with your goals for the board in mind. Recognise that the very nature of board engagement and interaction is often littered with nuances, ambiguities and conflicts.
> REFINE – Establish a way of working that is mutually beneficial and effective.
> RETAIN – Build the relationship and involvement to reflect both parties’ interests and expertise.
> RELEASE – Feel confident bringing the relationship to an end on positive terms at the right time. Independent directors may lose their independence and their valuable external viewpoint if their involvement is too greatly extended and the board will need to evolve to serve the stage of the business.
Of course, these categories were designed to draw out challenges related to the engagement of an individual – there are a further set of potential pitfalls for a scale up leader who will need to navigate the added complexity of coordinating a board. You can read more about the discussion we had previously here: https://scaleupgenerator.co.uk/articles/scale-up-leadership-challenges
Since then, both Nick Sturge and I have continued to have interesting discussions on the topic – and to explore potential services and support that would enable more businesses to benefit from NED engagement. In 2019 we hope to bring another group together to explore what’s possible and necessary – particularly as ‘reinvestment’ of experienced entrepreneurs into the region’s growing businesses is a pillar of our entrepreneurial ecosystem that needs further development. If you would like to be involved in this session, please get in touch – my details are below.
I have gathered some local resources, both for those companies seeking NEDs and for those professionals and experienced entrepreneurs who are contemplating a future role as a NED:
Our friends at Moon Consulting kindly shared this great content with us – to explore why and when to engage a NED: https://scaleupgenerator.co.uk/articles/NED-why-and-when
Our Lounge Member, the Institute of Directors, also have a factsheet on the role of the NED: https://www.iod.com/services/information-and-advice/resources-and-factsheets/details/What-is-the-role-of-the-NonExecutive-Director
In July 2018, our friends at TLT worked with UWE’s Business and Law School, The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, Transpire and Practice to write an extensive report on the subject of Non Exec Directors: https://www.tltsolicitors.com/insights-and-events/publications/non-executive-directors-in-smes/
In July this year, Nick Sturge, himself a Chartered Director, offered some reflections in his regular comment piece in the Engine Shed newsletter: http://www.engine-shed.co.uk/a-note-from-nick-sturge-the-director-at-engine-shed-the-power-of-ned/ If you’d like to sign up to the newsletter, do so here: https://engine-shed.us8.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=b9e747da9238aeae38a752c8e&id=0893a30478
This blog is written by Briony Phillips, Scale up Enabler for the West of England as part of her work to help inform and support fast growth companies in the region. If you’d like to know more about her work, please explore the website she’s put together: www.Scaleupgenerator.co.uk If you’d like to be part of this discussion, or add a perspective, please contact me firstname.lastname@example.org