Jul 07 2020| Leadership
by Phil Eyre Founder of Leaders
This month, I explain how our approach to leadership should change with the times.
When I started work in the finance industry there were still a handful of people in the City wearing bowler hats. Many City workers carried umbrellas - regardless of the weather. I recall needing to find a phonebox to call into the office and I remember the first personal computer arriving, it was a Macintosh. I hope that you’ll agree that, at 46, I’m not that old, yet what I’ve described here will feel veritably anachronistic to most readers.
My point here is not to take you on a nostalgic trip down memory lane, but to get us to remember that times change. But has our approach to decision-making and leadership changed?
In my observations across the Channel Islands, it seems that boardrooms have changed relatively little, despite radical shifts in business and society. For companies to survive, rebuild and reshape out of the COVID crisis, decision-making bodies (boards) need a radical rethink.
For too many, a standard agenda framework has remained practically unchanged for years, save for items required by new regulation. The key roles have remained substantially the same and often the same small group of people, or people with the same skills, are considered for new board positions.
There has, of course, been some progress - notably in gender diversity (with a long way still to go) and there are, of course, exceptions. I’m not against keeping people with years of experience on boards. Not at all.
What I’m advocating for is an expanded view on boardroom composition, one that accepts prevailing realities and one that looks ahead to future conditions and builds the most effective team accordingly.
Making changes such as these require future-focused thinking and a high-trust culture - each a hallmark of excellent leadership.
If we continue to look only in the same places for our decision-makers, at best we will miss some great opportunities, at worst we’ll become as relevant as a bowler hat.