After a number of hard years business in the UK is now turning the corner. With great skill sectors and an influx of talent from around the world London has always been seen as a prominent center for growth and success. It is great to see this is again being proven correct as business in the capital is leading the way.

With growth comes positivity and we should all now be thinking this way and moving forward with our businesses.

However, it is important that after the recession we learn from our mistakes and do not repeat them.

This is where a good Non-Executive Director really shines. NEDs should be ready to hold the board to account and be regularly adding value to the company striving to take it forward.

In my view it is a highly positive role, one that I am privileged to hold and find highly engaging and motivating.

So how can a NED help to challenge and develop a business while avoiding the mistakes of the past?

Here are four important considerations when taking on a NED role:

  • Consider what you bring to the table

In my view a NED should be viewed as a breath of fresh air. Each NED will of course be brought on board because of their unique experience to advise and help the company grow. Each should have complementary skills but it is important to know your own strengths and be able to voice your opinions. There are far too many problems caused by inaction.

  • A NED is there to help the company but is not an employee

This is very important to remember. Being able to give an independent and impartial opinion from a wider perspective is essential to help drive a strategy forward. A NED should not be constrained by the day-to-day emotions or ethos of the company but be able to focus on growth and good practice.

  • Understand how change takes place

Humans are invariably resistant to changes and it is imperative that a NED understands this. While it is an exciting and motivating feeling to be working with a new business to change and develop it, you can’t just fly in and look to overhaul everything overnight.

Don’t be disheartened by initial resistance, people often need time to come to terms with new ideas.

  • Be sympathetic to the culture

You need to be sympathetic to the culture already in place. Your focus should be about enhancing what is already there and works well. Understanding this will allow you to adapt and work more effectively alongside the other members of the board.

Tolerance is always a key factor. Regardless of ego everyone at board level has relevant and high level experience.

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