Do I need the AICD course to be a NED?
Pursuing a Non-Executive Director (NED) role is often a natural progression for talented senior leaders with the strategic, operational and business skills that lend themselves effectively to the process and delivery of good governance.
Directors should be capable of seeing company and business issues with a broad perspective and may be appointed because of their independence but, ultimately, they have the same legal duties, responsibilities and potential liabilities as their executive counterparts. This is a critical consideration and, before accepting any appointment, potential NEDs should undertake thorough due diligence to ensure confidence, certainty and trust. A thorough understanding of the landscape in which an organisation operates is also critical, as is a deep dive into functions, financials and viability.
Organisations often seek out NEDs who are solution driven problem solvers to help overcome challenges and complexities impacting potential and growth. Professionals from across a huge range of industries possess the skillsets to drive change, tackle problems and develop solutions, given these skills are also crucial to anyone in a senior leadership role. However, a process of transition needs to take place to ensure that new NEDs understand the operational focus critical to success in previous leadership roles is no longer required. What is required is a significant adjustment in mindset and approach to successfully shift towards oversight and governance.
Since governance, finance, strategy and risk may well already be in a potential NED’s field of knowledge and expertise, is there any point undertaking additional training to help guide the shift towards a governance mindset? More specifically, can an Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) course add value by allowing skilled professionals to utilise and apply existing skills and knowledge in an entirely new way?
With its focus on outlining ‘the key functions of a board, the role of a director, and the internal and external relationships of the board participants’, the AICD Governance for Directors course would certainly help potential NEDs gain ‘a deeper understanding of director performance, best practice [and] compliance requirements’. It is also important to remember that existing NEDs are often high-performing, significantly skilled professionals that respect and appreciate engagement in professional development opportunities and may themselves have pursued such opportunities to develop and grow. It makes sense, then, that a potential NED wishing to demonstrate a commitment to providing an exceptional level of service quality would embark on a journey of professional development, be it through AICD or any of the alternative resources that support that transition from an operational to a strategic mindset.
Highly recommended alternatives to the AICD offerings include Helga Svendsen’s Take on Board podcast available here. Helga observes that “Being on a Board can be an interesting, valuable and exciting experience. Yet it can also be lonely, challenging and hard.” Her weekly podcast offers tips, tricks and advice to help navigate potential NEDs to or through their first and next boards and build governance wisdom. As one listener puts it, ‘It’s like having your own trusted advisors in your pocket.’
Training and skill development should form part of an NED’s ongoing commitment once appointed to a board role since this ensures currency with developments in the organisation and the relevant industry or sector. The AICD has a plethora of offerings to support this ongoing development: a widespread uptake of its high-quality training would mean that boardrooms across the country would be filled with successful, influential, and effective NEDs.
Be brave! Venture into this new world with an open mind and fulfil your potential in ways you may never have considered. Executive Agents are here to help you scope your options, explore your future and realise your promise. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us for a free 15-minute consultation today.