Magazine article Management Today

COMING UP FAST: Building to Last - Which Non-Exec?

Magazine article Management Today

COMING UP FAST: Building to Last - Which Non-Exec?

Article excerpt

DILEMMA: I've just had to part company with a non-executive director. He had a great track record but we couldn't get him out of chief executive mode. I need a good non-exec, how can I avoid another mistake?

ISSUES: Success obviously depends on picking the right person, but there must also be clarity about what they are there for and how you will work together. Before thinking about what characteristics you're looking for, think about why you want a non-exec in the first place.

Are you clear about the role of your board? One way of defining it might be Right Strategy, Right Resources and Keep Out Of Jail - sorry, Right Governance. In other words, making sure that the right strategy is in place, that you have the right resources, including people and money, and that there is good governance. Non-execs should contribute in each of these areas. You may also want them to be a coach or mentor.

What general characteristics should you look for? Great judgment, strong interpersonal skills and superb antennae. They also need a 'cuddle and kick' personality and should know when it is relevant to get involved and when not.

The transition from CEO to non-exec can be tricky, perhaps because the compulsive/obsessive, control freak tendencies so handy to have in the CEO job are inappropriate for an NED. …

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