Blog / The NED that Stands Out Rather than Blends In
The NED that Stands Out Rather than Blends In
In this blog, OnBoarding Officers Super NED Monica Chadha, shares how to be the NED that stands out rather than the one who blends in.
Whether I am on a board or thinking of joining one, the advice of Patrick Dunne (experienced Chair and author of ‘Boards’) rings loudly in my ears. Purpose, people and process drive momentum. It is the momentum bit that drives profit or surplus depending on your metric. This is helpful when you’re starting out as a NED or in the context of working things through in the role. Let me explain my take on his model:
● Why does the organisation exist?
● Who does it serve, for how long and why?
● Who else serves your customer and what do they care about the most?
● Who might disrupt the business?
● How might the business disrupt itself?
The latter is particularly relevant in the context of AI, Cyber Health and availability of resource in light of changing immigration rules.
● If I am the answer to all your NED prayers, then what is the question?
● Who are the key players on the board?
● What keeps the CEO awake at night?
● How would the Chair and CEO describe board dynamics, bearing in mind that not every company has a Chair?
● What 5 or 6 decisions need to be taken by the board in the coming year?
● What is the financial dynamic of the organisation?
● What is the decision-making agenda?
● What mechanisms are in place for evaluating board effectiveness?
● Is there a NED induction plan to help you get up to speed with urgency and pace?
● What is the expected time commitment? Double it!
● Know thy stuff!
The above are just some of the questions that need answering and if you are new to the NED world, then I would most certainly consider a development plan as you will need to learn and unlearn unnaturally fast. The best NED’s for me are lifelong students who are incurably curious. They have EQ and IQ in buckets and display humility whilst using their power responsibly. In this way, they enable others by enabling themselves and relish the challenge of complex influencing. Given the role of a NED is to be eyes on and hands off, the good ones are comfortable taking a position, open to being persuaded by a good business argument and will support you until they don’t.