I wanted to gain a better understanding of how NEDs operated, how they balanced wider issues against commercial operations, and to gather experience outside the core strategic positioning, marketing and communications experience I’ve gained in my career to-date – this information will help shape the next stage of my career and how I approach opportunities that come next.
Did you gain what you were looking to achieve from the programme?
I’ve gained more than I was looking for! Not limited to just direct observation and guidance on the role of a NED, it was coupled with guidance from the Chair – who was generous with his time, and constructive with his feedback; my coach Caroline – who partnered coaching with motivation and encouragement; and Heather herself – who, even through lock-down, remained focused on ensuring I was clear about my goals and that the overall experience delivered to those.
What surprised you the most about the board experience?
I enjoyed the whole process far more than I would have expected to under the ‘learning new skills’ banner. Radiant are a dynamic company, with a warmth to the entire team, and Smarter Networking provided a strong and useful support structure throughout; both of these aspects ensured that communication, feedback, development and continued challenge were always delivered in a way that was helpful, just-in-time, and with clear direction – so I could immediately put learning to use.
Secondly, how much I enjoyed asking the ‘awkward’ questions! My day-to-day role requires not just addressing an issue but having a solution and then delivering it. Taking a NED’s viewpoint required slowing down and more fully testing the wider implications of the issue (is it a symptom or the core issue?) instead of focusing on ‘solving’ for the issue.
What has proved the key takeaway for you to demonstrate to your line manager back in your workplace?
Using a deeper understanding of the challenges NEDs face to shape our positioning strategy and approach to clients, as well as reinforcing personal influencing skills and having deeper comfort levels in raising issues and implications at a senior level