Tuesday, 23 February 2010
The follow-up from the event makes for interesting reading;
The panel debate discussed three questions that sought to challenge the boundaries trustees and boards can impose when looking for great trustees. Key points that drew further discussion included the challenge that, as boards, we spend too much time looking backwards not forwards. We also talked about sustainability, which limits us to be the organisation we are now where resilience is a more relevant focus, becoming the organisation we need to be. Less than 1% of trustees are under 30 and yet these are talented people like any other trustee, they just happen to be young.
Leadership by a board is critical. The panel recognised the challenge of leading as a group and understanding the difference between leading and managing, the board’s role and the staff role. Compared to the private sector, the voluntary sector has been slow to undertake proper board development and review.
Compelling improvements identified included the need to introduce new talent, to recognise the value of difference and diversity on a board as well as understanding risk and how to manage it, rather than be controlled by it, and the need to actively consider and act on the need to change to thrive.
‘Effective organisations have a restless search for improvement’ – quoting Michael Barbour
The table discussions looked at 7 questions across 13 tables and some creative and lengthy discussions continued into the networking and drinks. Highlights from the discussions include a sense that trustees can be overvalued especially in relation to status, i.e. the “great and good” and the value of the board as an entity can be under recognised. Being able to understand and represent the community being served is important but over representation by users and not enough recognition of skills, business experience and decision making create real barriers to success. Younger people have a lot to offer especially in this digital age, it is our problem to recognise, understand and include them not theirs. Private sector experience was recognised as valuable and bringing key skills, more needs to be done, consciously, to integrate people with differing backgrounds on a board.
The use of skills audits, self administered or with out side support was echoed across a number of tables where the need for self review, external governance support, succession planning, board development and time for the board to know each other as people as well as the task of being trustee was highlighted. Being a trustee can and should be fun, it should add value to the individual, it may be great personal development, build CVs, allow them to be part of a team or social environment. The motivations of trustees are not uniform, recognising and allowing different motivations was seen as a key way to cross recruitment boundaries. To read the speaker and table notes in full, http://ctt-news.org/72Y-3NGG-1D37XJ-21QUS-1/c.aspx.
The evening supported the TrusteeWorks suggestion that attitude and approach can be two boundaries to successful recruitment.
To add to the debate, email firstname.lastname@example.org
To find out more about TrusteeWorks, visit the website http://www.trusteeworks.org.uk/