DiscoverBoard Shorts Podcast
Board Shorts Podcast

Board Shorts Podcast

Author: Get on Board Australia

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Education and development for new and aspiring company directors and board members.
34 Episodes
What should one expect from a new director induction / on-boarding program? AND If there is no formal new director on-boarding program in place, for example, in the case of smaller NFP's or private companies, what should one ask from the Chair and CEO to get yourself up to speed as quickly as possible ahead of your first board meeting? My answer to these questions addresses the two main aspects of board life: the business and the board. I also include the questions that I would be asking the CEO and Chair to get me up to speed and contributing to the board and business ASAP. For full show notes (including links) visit:
When I first read 'The Five Dysfunctions of a Team' by Patrick Lencioni I was struck at how the five dysfunctions of the management team presented in the book are reflected in teams of all kinds, from the sporting field to the boardroom. It’s actually one of the best “business books for the boardroom” that I’ve read. When I ran into Leadership and Team Development Specialist, Paul Lloyd, recently at an event and he mentioned he was newly accredited in the Patrick Lencioni CAPAPro network, I jumped on the opportunity to invite him onto the podcast to have a conversation about the five dysfunctions of a team as it applies to the boardroom. Thankfully he accepted and, as suspected, we had a great discussion; covering how dysfunction shows up in the boardroom, how a board begins to overcome their dysfunctions, and what teams who think they’re not quite in the dysfunction zone can do to get better. We also digress into other areas, because when you start to unpack group dysfunction you start to realise that it comes a lot from our personal issues that we bring to the boardroom, our assumptions, and unmet expectations. It doesn’t take long into a board career to realise that boards are more about people than they are about pure governance; so I’m certain that any board member (or aspiring board member) will find this conversation valuable.
I’m here to tell you not to quit your day job! Naturally, I’m often asked what people can do to help themselves land their first board role. After heavily advocating that they invest in building, nurturing, and leveraging their network, I recommend that they be REALLY good at their day job; what Cal Newport refers to as being so good they can’t ignore you. After all, your expertise is usually the primary reason why you’ll be attractive to boards, particularly at the beginning of your board career. My transition from very small organisation boards, onto the boards of organisations that had day-to-day staff was predicated on my expertise (at that time I was doing marketing and PR). It was a transferable skill set that applied in many organisations and industries. Additionally, your skill set provides you with what I like to call ‘low hanging fruit’ when considering which board(s) you may want to initially consider joining at the beginning of your board career; places where your current expertise is most valued. It may be a board or organisation in your industry, or it may be a totally different industry / organisation that has the need for your transferable expertise. I cover WHY your professional career is vital for your board career, and the three things that I recommend for you to do if you’re someone who is in a professional career and is an aspiring board member.
The longer I listen to the news, the more I hear about organisations lurching from one culture crisis to the next. The boardroom is the place where bad culture starts, but it’s also where bad culture can – and probably should – die. With the average person spending 90,000 hours of their life at work, workplace culture has an enormous influence and impact on our wellbeing. In this episode, I’m talking with Samantha McGolrick, a Health and Safety professional. This is actually a conversation NOT about health and safety compliance, but one about helping you as a board member to improve organisational performance and find deeper meaning and purpose in their board role by using their influence to make a positive impact.
The board space can be incredibly overwhelming; there are so many names that apply to boards of directors – some come from legislation and some from tradition. It’s no surprise that one of our most-read articles is one describing the various types of ‘boards’ that you may encounter as you begin and progress your board career. This podcast discusses the most common types of boards and what makes them different – and a little bit the same – as each other. Please keep in mind that this list is not exhaustive, and the information is general in nature. As always, seek professional legal advice if you have any questions about your position, board, and/or organisation.
Imagine being in a new city, in a new country, where you don’t know anyone and having to build your professional and personal network from a completely zero base. This is what Jerry Kleeman agreed to do over 20 years ago when he moved from the US to Adelaide, Australia to take on a senior role in a global company. He is now considered by many people to be the person who knows everyone. And his ongoing networking activities continue to return value for him, his clients, and others in his network. Networking often instills dread in many of us; so I wanted to bring Jerry onto the show, sharing his somewhat extreme network building story to encourage you to embrace network building activities (not just meeting new people at events). Unlike Jerry, you already likely know many people – this is your existing network and is a great place to start becoming intentional with when it comes to progressing your board goals. From there, you can start to work outwards, building an intentional, valuable network who will go to bat for you when it comes to board opportunities. Find the show notes and Networking for Board Success workbook here:
How do you succeed as a not-for-profit board member? How can you effectively leverage not-for-profit board roles? I’m answering these questions from a listener, covering the span of your board journey: considerations before you join a board, what to do once you’re on a board, and how to transition to your next board. Check out the show notes for this episode here:
When you meet someone new, how do you answer the question ‘what do you do?’ It’s a simple question that strikes fear into most people. There is actually a way to answer this question that enables you to start a potentially valuable conversation. Your answer should be framed in what I call your ‘Unique Value Proposition’. It’s something that I work on with every aspiring board member. Knowing your Unique Value Proposition is a key that unlocks opportunities for you in the boardroom AND in other contexts – such as your professional life. My conversation with Joanna – a Potentialist, Adventurer & Aspiring Fairy Godmother* - will show you why and how to tell stories about yourself that demonstrate just how awesome you are. This is something that – after listening to this conversation – you may want to see in action. That’s why I have shared a link in the show notes to a YouTube video of Joanna doing this live with an audience participant: It’s so powerful.
There is no shortage of corporate misconduct in the most senior ranks of some of the largest organisations in Australia. From allegations of sexual harassment to reports of bullying at the highest levels of organisations, boards are having to govern and lead through significant human relations crises that are having major external impacts. Board expert Julie Garland McLellan returns to the podcast to share her expertise and advice on how boards can govern and lead well through a human relations crisis. It’s a robust conversation that traverses the most significant and current corporate misconduct cases happening in Australia right now.
At the beginning of this year - 2020 - I went back to school to study a Master of Business Law. Of course, I was expecting to learn a lot about law, but university - particularly my first semester back at university in about 8 years - actually ended up being a mirror. It highlighted parts of my personality, temperament, and working style. I was TOTALLY NOT expecting that. But rather than fight it, I decided to use it and grow from it.
I’m not sure if you’ve felt it, but I've been feeling and noticing this mood or appetite, or even both, for a more human-side to businesses and boards. I think the global pandemic has had an interesting effect on our psyche; in a strange way, being physically distanced from each other has made us recognise and appreciate the human connections that we do have when we come together in person. Particularly as boards have shifted to virtual board meetings, the value of what I call the human element in the boardroom and amongst the board itself, which was previously taken for granted, is being recognised as something that is of value to a board, its members, and the organisation as a whole. Working well as a group of humans takes investment and intention. My conversation with Bobby Herrera takes us on a journey from how our personal struggles influence our leadership and support the organisation, how trust builds value and one must proceed the other, and how bringing vulnerability into the boardroom can enhance your and the board’s performance. As you listen, I encourage you to reflect on your style of leadership, both inside and outside the boardroom, and how you can leverage the gift of struggle. Find out about Bobby: Connect with Bobby on LinkedIn: Purchase The Gift of Struggle: Watch Bobby's 'Bus Story':
The conversation about board diversity generally starts and stops at gender balance. That’s been a wonderful place to start; however, we both recognise that diversity is much more diverse than just gender. 

 This conversation that I had with Amy Bottoms, a Principal of Catalyst Advisors in Seattle, Washington, covered the pros and cons of legislating for gender balance on boards, whether people are still interested in board diversity beyond gender balance, simple ways that a board can start creating a diverse cohort, how do the best boards build, maintain, and leverage diversity around their table; and how diverse candidates can position themselves to get on a board.

 Amy brings 25 years of experience building board of directors and executive leadership teams for innovative life sciences companies.  Prior to joining Catalyst Advisors, she was an Engagement Manager at a leading global executive search firm, where she specialised in recruiting board directors, general management executives and senior commercial and technical leaders across the biopharma, healthcare IT, medical technology and healthcare services sectors. Amy began her career at Microsoft as a Corporate Researcher before entering the executive search industry in 1996 as a Research Associate.
We are ALL in the situation where we are learning to lead through a global pandemic and deep and sudden economic crisis. There is no playbook for us as board members to follow; however, there are likely better ways for us to lead through this current situation and for us, as board members, to continue to add value to our boards. To understand what the best boards and best board members are doing now, I reached out to Julie Garland-McLellan. Julie and I talk about: :: What the best boards are doing right now; what’s on their agenda; and how they’re spending their time. :: What boards can do to support the organisation in the short to medium term future. :: What's on their strategy agenda, and how boards can start looking forward to recovery/what’s next and taking advantage of opportunities that are available. :: Clarifying the short-term changes to insolvent trading liabilities for directors. :: And other interesting observations that Julie has made as she supports boards through the COVID crisis. Resources Julie mentions during our conversation: :: Anti-Fragile by Nassim Nicholas Taleb: :: The Cost of Running Boards [yes, even volunteer boards]:
The key to getting better answers to help solve problems or seize opportunities is to ask better questions. Genuine curiosity is a cornerstone attribute of effective board members and effective boards. But how do we develop our questioning muscle? What makes a great question? What stops us from asking questions? And where do you start when faced with big issues in the boardroom? I sat down with question-asking expert Greg Bustin earlier this year at the international Vistage Chair conference in San Diego to pick his brain about how us as board members can develop and ask better questions in the boardroom. Using Greg’s book ‘That’s a Great Question’ as a conversation starting point, Greg and I talked about: * What makes a great question. * What words to avoid when asking questions. * What is stopping us from asking questions. * The value in slowing down. * Why how you ask a question is just as important as what you ask. * Five questions every organisation should be asking. * Where to start with big decisions in the boardroom. * And a brief history of the question mark. Check out the show notes to download the question grid and connect with Greg:
As board members, we open ourselves up to risk - financial and otherwise. But how do you begin to get your head around exactly what this risk is and how deep it can reach into your and your family’s lives? I look to answer that question, sent in by a listener, who wanted to understand the financial risk she (and by default her family) might be taking on if she accepts a board position. She also wanted to know what the risks are of being sued, and if it’s worth taking out insurance to cover the risks of being on a board? Please note: all information in this - and other episodes of the Board Shorts Podcast - is general in nature. You should seek advice from appropriately qualified specialists to address your specific circumstance.
Kelvin Spiller, author of One Step Ahead: what aspiring leaders and CEOs need to know before, during, and after their first 100 days, shares the leadership model he has developed from his experience across 8 CEO roles and more than 35 board and committee roles, and how you can maximise and leverage your first 100 days in a leadership role. Kelvin's book, One Step Ahead, can be purchased here:
My 10+ years in the boardroom has given me a valuable perspective on board succession planning and board recruitment. I’ve observed that boards in all industries and types of organisations struggle with this. As they say, they can’t ‘find good people’. I actually refuse to believe this. There are plenty of great people looking to join boards, even yours! It turns out that the quality of your board candidates is directly related to the quality of your recruitment activities. Many boards don’t have any board recruitment activities. And they are surprised that they can't find good people... Enough on that for the moment! In this episode of the Board Shorts Podcast I talk further about this topic. I share what I’ve learned over my board career so far and present a model for succession planning that I’ve been developing over the past few years. It is designed to help you and your board understand - and improve - your board succession planning and board recruitment practices. __________ Looking for the sample Director Selection and Induction Process mentioned in the show? Visit for the link to download.
In this episode of the Board Shorts podcast I am joined by David Campbell. David is an expert in risk and crisis management. David has an interesting way of looking at business risk; focusing on the opportunities that business risks present. Dare I say it, David makes talking about risk management fun! In this episode, David covers: - What he sees is the board’s role in risk and crisis management; - How to change your perception of risk management as an advantage; - Where he sees boards get lost and overwhelmed with risk and crisis management; - And, some simple and practical ways that boards can start doing risk management more effectively. David Campbell is the Managing Director of Resilience Planning, a leading provider of risk, emergency, crisis and continuity planning, training, exercising and assurance services. David has over 20 years of experience in this field, and lectures at the University of South Australia. His career in emergency services has helped David to develop his unique perspective on risk, business continuity, and leveraging it for strategic advantage. Contact David Website: Email: LinkedIn:
In this episode we cover the main areas of questioning you will likely experience during your board interview and how best you can prepare for these. We also touch on a few other areas that are recommended you review to prepare any questions to ask the interviewer(s) so that you are *really* sure about joining the board (or not).
BoardShorts Podcast - Diary of a Board Member
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