Tuesday, June 14, 2016

An Evening with the Authors of Difference Makers

Join me and Alicia Curtis to celebrate the launch of our first co-authored book, Difference Makers: A Leaders Guide to Championing Diversity of Boards.



This book challenges the debate about who can lead and who can provide value on Boards. It gathers together the latest research on board diversity along with the author’s personal experiences of leading the Engaging Young Leaders on Aged Care and Community Boards program in Western Australia.
Event attendees will enjoy:
  • A Q/A session with the authors about the themes of the book
  • Get your own copy of the book
  • Opportunities to meet and network with a diverse range of leaders
  • Canap├ęs and beverages
 We’ve already had some wonderful comments about the book:
“Difference Makers: A Leaders Guide to Championing Diversity of Boards is a powerful leadership and governance story that Nicky and Alicia based on their own personal learning, experience and wisdom”
Angie Paskevicius, CEO Holyoake and 2015 Telstra WA Business Woman of the Year
“Difference Makers: A Leaders Guide to Championing Diversity of Boards is an outstanding insight into how to effectively embrace diversity a true roadmap for creating better organisations better companies and a better society”
Rhys Williams 2015 Young West Australian of the Year
Event Details:
Date: 29th June 2016
Time: 5.30-7.30pm
Venue:  Southcare Central, Corner of Pether Road and Bickley Crescent, Manning

You can buy more books at the event or buy online here.  Bulk discounts apply if you wish to order for your Board, staff or next event. Please send me an email to arrange this nicky@nickyhowe.com

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Launching Difference Makers

On 24th May, Bankwest kindly supported the launch of Difference Makers: A leader’s guide to championing diversity on boards.  This book is about re-framing the debate about who can participate in a board directorship so that differences are not seen as negatives but as positives. We share the latest research on diversity, Board Director profiles as well as our journey with the Engaging Young Leaders on Boards program.
We must thank Suzy Lou Photography for the wonderful event photography (see below) and Ellie Del Cashin for providing the live music during the evening.  Thank you to everyone who attended including our publisher, Lesley Williams from Major Street Publishing who flew over from Melbourne to attend.
You can buy your copy of the book here.  Alyceum is also providing thought provoking presentations and workshops for staff and Board Directors about the book themes – diversity, leadership and governance.
If you missed out on attending this event, Southcare has just announced they will be hosting an Evening with the Authors event on the Wednesday, 29th June. Watch out for registration details coming very soon.

Check out the launch event photos below!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

What is the Directors Role in Diversity?




A key part of any Directors role is the lead themselves and to lead others. Difference Makers: A Leader’s Guide to Championing Diversity on Boards invites directors to firstly explore their own commitment to diversity and then provides valuable insights into how to lead others in the boardroom. Fundamental to this is how good boards put time and effort in working together to develop a high performance environment.

This means that every director not only the chair, deputy chair, treasurer or secretary can make a difference, every director needs to be a diversity and inclusion champion.

What is the Director’s Role in this?

Your role as a director is to work with the others to create an engaged, inclusive culture. You want to be part of creating a board environment that is inclusive. In order to influence inclusive and exclusive behaviours you need to understand what factors inhibit or enhance these behaviours. You have to recognise what habits you need to create in relation to your behaviour and the behaviours of other directors.
What do good boards do?  Among the objectives of a good board are:

  • Creating a board charter that sets out the board’s purpose and defining the shared values (which will be drawn from the organisational values).
  • Articulating how directors will communicate with each other.
  •  Setting out how directors will behave and what the other directors will do when members do not behave to the agreed standards.
  • Expressing what are the positive habits members will adopt as part of their directorship.

Another important element of a high performing board is its ability to create a new type of culture required in modern governance and one which Nadler describes as an ‘engaged’ board. A board culture is the result of a group of people having a shared set of values and from this, the group determines what are appropriate and inappropriate behaviours in particular situations. The shared values are reflected in the beliefs and norms of each director and in-turn the whole board.
Difference Makers sets out these board values and norms to support director who seek to behave in line with these characteristics. We know that not every board director will, so your role as a leader is the process of social influence, to maximise the efforts of other directors, to achieve the organisation’s objectives. Difference Makers offers various resources to support you in developing your commitment to diversity so you can lead a more diverse and inclusive board room. 

ABOUT THE BOOK
Join us in championing diversity on boards – become a Difference Maker.
Difference Makers reframes the debate about who can participate in a board directorship so that differences are not seen as negatives but as positives. Dr Nicky Howe and Alicia Curtis share their experience and research on how different points of view and different experiences can enhance problem-solving and spark innovation; it can build better boards and ultimately better organisations. 
Get your copy at here.  Launching May 2016.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Essential Secrets for Exceptional Board Directors



Prior to Peter Cosgrove being appointed as the Governor General he played a vital leadership role when we said the following: 

“Imagine if hundreds of talented younger female and male directors had a term with an ASX 300 listed company or large private or not-for-profit enterprise and worked side by side with Australia’s top directors. The country’s pool of next-generation directors would be transformed”.

He understood that boards play an integral role in the success of any organisation and that just as business needs diversity of talent so do boards.

Like the Governor General we want to lead a debate about creating diversity on boards.

Our latest book Difference Makers: A Leader’s Guide to Championing Diversity on Boards seeks to help you join us in challenging the current thinking about who has the ‘right stuff’ to sit on boards. Difference Makers provides readers with the latest insights into how traditional approaches to securing directors who are reliable, like-minded and known entities is not enough in this volatile, complex, ambiguous and uncertain (VUCA) world and neither is a narrow interpretation of a directors role.

There are increasing reputational, legal and compliance risks, and an increasing number of stakeholders who are scrutinising the actions of boards and speaking out when they don’t like what they see. This higher-stakes environment is increasingly putting board composition in the spotlight.

 We only have to remember cases like Enron and James Hardy to realise that board culture and ethics are key characteristics of effective board governance. 

Boards continue to face ever-expanding agendas, uncertain market conditions, legislative changes, funding cuts, rapid technology changes and the challenge of complying with regulations in more and more jurisdictions where their organisations want to do business. An evolution is under way, and boards now are beginning to realise that it is the breadth of perspective, not the mere inclusion of various diverse traits, that benefits the organisation. Not only are directors’ professional skills and expertise coming under more scrutiny but so too is the mix of ages, gender and ethnicity of board directors.

In building the business case for board diversity, Difference Makers highlights the national and international research.  Board members from a range of sectors offer their insights about board diversity and facts and statistics are used to demonstrate the financial, cultural, customer, reputational and innovation benefits that are improved through board director diversity.

ABOUT THE BOOK
Join us in championing diversity on boards – become a Difference Maker.
Difference Makers re-frames the debate about who can participate in a board directorship so that differences are not seen as negatives but as positives. Dr Nicky Howe and Alicia Curtis share their experience and research on how different points of view and different experiences can enhance problem-solving and spark innovation; it can build better boards and ultimately better organisations. 
Get your copy at here.  Launching May 2016.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Book Review: Robyn Weatherley’s Eyes Wide Open



A First-Timer’s Guide to the Real World of Boards and Company Directorships

The first thing that caught my attention with this book was the cover – it captures the essence of the content – for every director we need to keep our eyes wide open! As you read through the book you realise having your eyes wide open is a great reminder for how to be an exceptional director. A term Robyn uses because she clearly understands that if we take on a director role, this aspiration should be non-negotiable. 

A quick flick through the book suggests it is easy to read, and it is. Robyn says in her opening chapter how it is important for her to share her knowledge as a conversation, and this approach really engages the reader. We are asked to read the whole book so that the conversation really takes hold once we have all the insights. 

As a learner I followed Robyn’s advice and found is very satisfying. The content is rich with very useful material, stories, latest research and is entertaining, clever and practical. It is jam packed with lots of information and is written in a style that makes it easy to understand. Robyn clearly enjoys the topic and you feel that she wants you to succeed as a director. She makes the various points with intelligence, ease and makes sure the reader understands that as directors we need to be fully committed to the role, obligations and responsibilities. 

The book is well structured - three key parts with four to five key elements:

Part One: Pre-Appointment - this section is dedicated to helping you to contemplate and investigate whether becoming a director is really a role you want. This starts with ‘Where to Begin’ - a key highlight in this section is the message of ego versus the cause/business and alignment with your own values. I was reminded to think carefully about how comfortable I would be saying I sit on the board of ‘X’. Also the question of why the board director vacancy came about.  Robyn then moves into company culture, strategy and financials. I found this section a really practical refresher. It is about research and getting a sense of the culture. This is where we are introduced to the ‘Checklists’. These are terrific practical tools that really help you learn. I liked the fact that early in the book Robyn introduces the need for directors to be able to read a set of financial statements and if you don’t then go and get some training. The reminder about de facto directors in very pertinent. Meeting the Chairman, CEO, CFO and other directors is sound advice as are the checklists, in particular the Top 10 Pre-Appointment Must-Dos. 

Part Two: Invitation Accepted - this section is about the board induction process, meetings, dos and don’ts and how to conduct yourself. Whilst it is written for the new director I think it offers some great advice for existing directors both individually and in relation to improving current practices. If you are not sure if you have everything in place for when a new directors starts, this book is a great tool. As a CEO I did laugh at the part about ‘We’re all human…’ and errors in the board packs.  Robyn’s reminder about Board Minutes is sobering.

Part Three: In the Boardroom and Beyond - we are reminded of the importance of our roles as directors, the contribution we can make and our statutory and fiduciary duty we owe to the organisation. The conversation about the importance of developing working relationships with other directors is very useful along with the need to hold all information in-confidence. As a great advocate for ongoing education and using our intuition I commend Robyn on including this in her book.
We do need to keep learning and developing ourselves. I found the book highly practical, providing relevant tips, examples and excellent checklist exercises to engage in immediate application. I firmly believe that this book will support those people seeking to become a board director and to those of us committed to becoming an exceptional director.