Board Advisory

Optimise Board performance

Based on years of experience in assessing senior executives and non-executives board member of organisations of all sizes and shapes Saxton Bampfylde has developed a strong understanding of what makes for effective Boards. Our experience of selecting the right person to sit around a board table can be equally applied to the board as a group in thinking about how their collective capabilities, mindset and behaviours play equally important roles in ensuring they are the right group for the organisation they serve.

Recent years have presented new challenges and opportunities for boards. The swift adoption of technology during the pandemic, the rise of the stakeholder agenda and the increasing focus on ESG and diversity in its broadest sense have all put boards under pressure to think and operate differently. Not every board has met these challenges with the same success and an external review is a helpful reflection point for a board.

Board Review: our approach

Our board practice has developed a board review model which gets under the skin of the board, understands the challenges facing their organisations and gives chairs the objective information they need to run an effective board. Our review is structured around a tried and tested model but can be adapted to an organisation’s needs and the requirements of the sector in which it operates. Our reviews are not just tick box exercises, instead we give clear recommendations to improve collective performance and meet best practice.

Values and dynamics alignment

Boards are rewarding and challenging arenas to operate in: while some individuals flourish, others struggle to make an impact. It is in the entire board’s interest to make sure a new board member has the appropriate skills and behaviours to add significant value, ensuring it delivers on its fiduciary duties, positively contributes to the strategy and culture of the organisation, and works productively together and with the Executive team.

A board’s effectiveness is dependent on the mix of skills, interpersonal qualities and its overall cohesiveness. When deciding between short-listed candidates the nominations committee will need to weigh up professional knowledge, technical competence, and cultural fit, with a careful eye on the interpersonal dynamics of the whole group.

At the shortlisting stage we recognise our role in providing clients with clear and relevant insights to differentiate between candidates who are technically matched. The ability to explore underlying leadership characteristics, a candidate’s likely cultural fit with the board and wider organisation and how they interact with others is essential. Our in-house psychologists are able to de-risk the decision process, measuring, for example, an individual’s personal impact through their level of motivation, drive, judgement and influence. Our assessments provide interviewees with behavioural insights and tailored questions for candidate interviews, as well as identifying development areas which can in turn be used when onboarding the appointed candidate.

Coaching for aspiring and new Non-Executives

Our coaching for Non-executives focuses upon behaviours, values and dynamics rather than technical aspects of governance. The coach helps individuals to consider the transition from their previous career in to a non-executive role, how they can apply their strengths, how they may need to adapt, what they hope to gain and to contribute through the role.

Behaviours for effective Board dynamics and performance are discussed, such as striking the balance between support and challenge, asking effective questions, contributing appropriately, what it means to think strategically on a Board, supporting the corporate view, considering stakeholders, supporting executives to look after their staff and leveraging diversity. Areas of effective Board Leadership are covered; the Outside World, Creating the Future, Nurturing Identity, Managing the Present and Board Team Effectiveness.



Evolution or revolution?

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