In an era of change, we need new perspectives in the boardroom.
Look around and it’s not hard to see we urgently need the collaborative efforts of young minds, visionary marketers, and social impact leaders to surprise, delight and challenge.
Sounds great, right? And easy? Nope.
When was the last time your organisation welcomed a new board member, or deliberately invited guests from within or outside the organisation?
In many organisations fresh thinking and new perspectives can easily fall by the wayside. Routine agendas and established behaviours stifle creative thinking.
So, what’s the solution?
Here are a few ideas:
- Set term limits and appoint directors from diverse backgrounds.
- Invite an external subject matter expert to speak about a strategic issue or trend facing your organisation.
- Reverse mentoring. Connect each director with a younger member of the team with a different background or cultural perspective to meet regularly over coffee.
Whatever you do, my encouragement is to make sure your board is ready to listen. Are they prepared to slow down, ask good questions, and reflect? Speaking to myself, that bit’s not easy!
Then comes the kicker. Do your organisation a favour and make sure you lean into good storytelling. Find people with lived experience or deep subject matter expertise who can capture hearts and minds.
Great storytellers can engage any audience, but your typical boardroom is a tough crowd. Directors are typically risk averse (as required), critical thinkers, and quick to pick up discrepancies in the data – or your story.
The good news is you can overcome the odds by pairing board leaders with talented, usually younger leaders. A credible guest expert, or fresh thinking from an outside source, can quickly establish trust and build on common ground.
Getting your perspective heard
As a specialist you might have a perspective on organisational strategy that you believe decision-makers need to factor in.
How can you gain entry to the boardroom and what will you say when given the opportunity?
- Any decent board will want to be across issues, risks and opportunities, so framing your pitch in those terms will speak their language
- Respect time by sending any stimulus material in advance
- Keep your presentation tight and allow for question time.
Board conversations can be robust, so don’t take interrogation-style questions personally – they’re a sign you’re being taken seriously.
Are you ready?
Have you identified people in your organisation who would benefit from leadership coaching? Our Storytelling for Leadership program is designed to empower individuals, at all levels and functions, by teaching them how their strengths, unique skills and expertise can add value to the workplace.