Monday, March 14, 2016

why spin the bottle beats psychometrics in getting Boards to perform better

I often find myself working with the Boards of various social enterprises, charities, and other types of businesses as part of wider packages of support - my time with them is usually spent helping them reflect on how well they're collectively performing in supporting their respective ventures to further pursue their mission, and that can take all sorts of forms...

Case in point: I recently completed several months of working with the Board of an up and coming social enterprise as part of supporting the venture explore and pursue social investment - any venture seeking investment will find it's Board coming under scrutiny sooner or later as part of the due diligence process of any financing body, so I was concerned to make sure that it was fully 'fit for purpose': not just for now, but also for future scenarios it may face.

I agreed with them how we'd approach this and over the space of 4 months developed codes of governance, terms of reference, formalised a range of procedures and practices, and also did some psychometrics (group and individual) with them to help Directors reflect on their individual role and how well they supported each other's performance. And at the end of this process, the only outstanding decision to be taken was who should take on the role of the Board's Chair. 

And that's when everyone suddenly found they needed to check their phones, shoelaces, and bottoms of mugs... formal and professional governance development practices and psychometrics could only take them so far, so I resolved to break this sudden impasse by taking a relatively unconventional process which everyone was surprisingly excited about and wholeheartedly agreed to abide by the outcome of: spin the bottle! (they don't call me #notyourtypicalconsultant for nothing!).

Moral of the story?
It's your venture, not your consultants - if you don't like the approaches being used and suggested, use your own, however 'unprofessional' they may appear as it'll mean you can continue to enjoy working on what you're creating rather than having to compromise yourself into fitting into someone else's expectations of you.