Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Thrown in at the Deep End of Business

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Thrown in at the Deep End of Business

Article excerpt

Byline: By Bill McGawley

Six measures by the Government would immediately benefit business in the North-East. And with one of them already `achieved' that leaves only five, says Bill McGawley, chairman of the North-East region of the Institute of Directors

THE decision to change the name of the Department for Productivity, Energy and Industry back to the Department of Trade and Industry was a sensible decision by the Government.

Spin had again overtaken reality. If we ran businesses the way the Government has consistently managed the DTI, we would have been replaced years ago.

Twice in a week a Department of State responsible for spending billions of pounds of taxpayers' money saw its name changed. Ministers and civil servants should be focusing instead on dangers to business competitiveness ( such as the threat to the UK's opt-out from the Working Time Directive ( and not fritter time toying.

Common sense has triumphed for now, though, and I pat Alan Johnson, the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, on the back. UK businesses hope ministers will now continue to concentrate on more substantive matters.

The importance of professional development, for example, cannot be underestimated. Training for executives at board level is often overlooked.

Directors are expected to have a broader range of knowledge, and the Government, media and stakeholders expect directors to display a high level of professionalism, both as individuals and collectively as a board.

Because this professionalism and extended expertise cannot necessarily be gained in the workplace, continued skills development is necessary.

Company directors, for example, must be current with legal requirements, best practice in corporate governance and present business thinking ( areas that require specific expertise which can fall outside a director's core competency. …

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