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Why you should consider taking on a NED role

  • Publish Date: Posted about 3 years ago
  • Author:by Richard Abelson

​We’re increasingly recruiting and transitioning top professionals and senior business leaders into non-executive director's (NED) roles. Many of them feedback to us that it’s one of the best decisions they’ve ever made, providing them with that all-important next career move.

But what exactly is a NED, we hear you ask? 

Essentially a NED’s role is to provide a creative contribution to the board by delivering independent oversight, while constructively challenging executive directors. This is all with a view to helping the organisation in question succeed in what they do.

And what is their function? 

Non-executive directors are expected to focus on board matters and not stray into an executive direction, providing a view of the company which is removed from its day-to-day running and operations. This means that they tend to principally be involved in policy making procedures and planning exercises. NEDs are appointed to the board to bring:

·         Impartiality

·         Wide experience

·         Specialist knowledge

·         Personal qualities

The effectiveness of NED appointments, and how these are achieved, vary significantly between different organisations, depending on their size, core market, disciplines, sector, business maturity and the nature of the challenges which they face. 

For example, many smaller firms are now appointing NEDs to bring in wider experience, in response to the complexity of doing business and any subsequent organisational challenges. The role of the NED is also diversifying, with the pressure now on organisations to compete globally, deal with digital transformation and respond to rapidly changing market conditions, which is why new skills are needed at board level. This implies a need to refresh the NED pool, bringing in new external experience and challenge when the organisation needs it, and adjusting accordingly as circumstances change. 

Bearing all of this in mind, here our Managing Director, Richard Abelson discusses the wide variety of the benefits which come hand in hand with assuming a non-executive position.

Speed up your executive career pathway

If you currently hold an executive role, becoming a NED may well add fuel to your career. While the time you have to commit to fulfil your duties as a NED has to be balanced with your other professional obligations, being a NED allows you to develop your strategic decision making skills and commercial expertise. You also learn the art of approaching any issues which might arise from the perspective of a board member.

Carefully consider your next move

You can either position yourself as a portfolio NED or a senior executive who has ambitions to enter into the boardroom of the company where you currently work. A NED role may also complement your existing portfolio career, which is a common route adopted by consultants and board advisers.

Feel rewarded and fulfilled

Playing an active role in the success of an organisation will result in a good sense of worthwhile and achievement. It may also have the added bonus of resulting in financial reward. A NED makes both a substantive and measurable contribution to the decisions of the board and, in addition, to the growth and delivery of the mission, vision, values and strategy of an organisation.

Showcase talents and skills 

As a NED, you bring your experiences, expertise and skills to the board for everyone to see, meaning you can take the opportunity to impress your peers and more senior leaders. You may also facilitate new business through your connections and professional network.

Fresh new experiences

A NED role and the variety of responsibilities which come with it may be a welcome change from having to focus on the daily operational and managerial aspects of an executive job. Each NED role is specific to the organisation which you serve, the stage of growth it is at when you join, the other board members and the external and internal environments, ethos and overarching culture.

Learn new skills

A NED is neither an executive, a board adviser nor a consultant. Becoming a NED calls for the development of new skills and the use of existing skills in different ways. This can indeed be difficult and challenging, but it will ultimately provide you and your career with a fresh lease of life.

Broaden your network

A NED will interact with other NEDs in the boardroom and may also choose to join a focused membership organisation. Being a NED will help to expand both your network and horizons, providing you with a host of new professional opportunities.

Boost your status

The NED role is a prestigious position and holding it will stand you in good stead for you for other career options, perhaps at larger organisations or with those which offer bigger challenges.

Enjoy independence and flexibility 

A NED is not an employee as he or she is appointed to a board. There is tremendous flexibility in being a NED and subsequently developing and nurturing a portfolio career.

Give back to society

Being a NED allows you to contribute to society because it’s within this arena that your skills and expertise may benefit the wider organisation, all while acting in the best interest of its key stakeholders.

If you would like to discuss how MERJE can support your business in attracting a NED to help you achieve your strategic ambitions or if you are keen to undertake the role of a NED yourself, please get in touch with our team to discuss your requirements in more