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ESSEC WBEBR V-Strickfaden_NED-postures

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Based on my observations during the #5 session and on my experience as a board member, a few tips to find your place at the board table

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ESSEC WBEBR V-Strickfaden_NED-postures

  1. 1. Women Be European Board Ready Considerations on postures as a board member By Viviane Strickfaden Serving on a Board of directors: More than a knowledge or a skill A way of being Having the appropriate posture: a real challenge Some observations carried during WBEBR #5 Some points of vigilance / suggestions to sit at the Board table
  2. 2. The power of questioning  Observations • A series of questions…  Technical  Detailed • …that interrupt the flow • …that may hinder the understanding of the whole  Points of vigilance / Suggestions • Agree not understand everything immediately  Additional elements may be given  The 360 ° / strategic vision requires taking a step back and disengaging from very operational issues • Rephrase - summarize to highlight key points, gray areas August 2015WBEBR 5 | Non-executive director posture 2
  3. 3. The transversal reading of topics  Observations • Interventions…  Technical, on the (member’s) field of expertise  Detailed • …irrelevant • …make lose the thread  Points of vigilance / Suggestions • Know how to remain at a more global level, focused on the issues  By identifying interstitial zones possibly untreated  The director brings her/his vigilance without replacing executives. The board is not the place of / for expertise • Ask a question or two, open but focused on impacts, risks, too imprecise areas • As appropriate, also suggest an ad hoc committee, a dedicated meeting August 2015WBEBR 5 | Non-executive director posture 3
  4. 4. Your place in the board of directors, the « group » 1/2  Observations • Interventions…  Full of affect  At the wrong moment  Apart / beside • …that can install an unfavorable climate for constructive exchanges • …that can create a kind of « split » in the group • …that can make you miss a key point  Points of vigilance / Suggestions • Take a distance between oneself (the person) and one’s role / function  The weight of others’ eyes does not have to exist  Others‘ feedbacks are a « judgment » on your competencies • Listen carefully and actively what is being said / what happens  With your brain, with empathy  Your womanhood is not at the table • Dare to get out one’s comfort zone  Mandatory to understand each point August 2015WBEBR 5 | Non-executive director posture 4
  5. 5. Your place in the board of directors, the « group » 2/2  Observations • Interventions…  With a barely audible voice  Hesitant in formulating  With lower bound words about oneself • …That can discredit the substance, what you bring to the table • …That can not being listened to and/or understood  Points of vigilance / Suggestions • Work on your assertiveness  Tone and pace of speaking are as important as the content  What you have to say is a priori of interest  It is to you to take your full place: it won’t be given to you • Be congruent: words–tone–gesture  Your message is consistent and has real impacts  Self-awareness in one’s environment facilitates the distance with one’s emotions August 2015WBEBR 5 | Non-executive director posture 5
  6. 6. Sum up  Agree not to understand everything right away • Prepare the meetings ahead (read and understand the papers) • If necessary, deepen thereafter… • … Unless immediate substantive decision  Dare to ask when a misunderstood point does no longer allow to follow • Know how one’s liability is incurred • Use reformulation rather than question if more comfortable  Take some distance • With one’s filed of expertise : in his/her role, the non-executive director is a « strategist » and not an expert • With one’s emotions : the « function-role NED » does not question the « person NED »  Dare to take one’s place • A seat? A recognized authority legitimate! The voice also carries the legitimacy • The role of candid? Tactical or real, it can brighten dark areas! August 2015WBEBR 5 | Non-executive director posture 6
  7. 7. Viviane Strickfaden Certified Women Be European Board Ready - ESSEC vsk [at] vs-management.fr web site: vs-management.fr Business leader who believes that the success of a company depends on the development of its human assets, I accompany organizations in strengthening their teams, succeeding in their transformation for more performance, durability and agility for over 25 years. Understanding the culture and challenges of public and private organizations allows me to interact effectively with them. I combine strategic and tactical approach in fast- changing contexts and ambitious projects with long-term vision and concrete results. Founding partner and CEO of VS Management Corp, Strategy & Management consulting since 2012 | Board member August 2015WBEBR 5 | Non-executive director posture 7