Over the last 2 years we have been patiently and intentionally building a new Board that now has a great and varied mix of skills plus the passion and enthusiasm to really help the management team drive the success so we can deliver as much as possible for young people across Scotland. At the start of this process we purposely decided to reach out beyond our own personal networks, which had been the modus operandi to date, and instead we advertised on a wide variety of sites. We followed a structured interview process for applicants – phone call, first meeting and second meetings – all following the same format but not overly formal.
This new (to us!) approach paid dividends, with 5 new members joining, all of whom are still with us, and each adding great value to the Board in each meeting or within their sub committees (another newly introduced structure. We have the advantage of ‘fresh eyes’ on all aspects of the organisation, and of course the newer members are able to clearly see and call out legacy issues – ‘luggage’ if you will, which can then be more easily be identified and left at the door! I believe we have struck an excellent balance now between knowledge / experience of the organisation and fresh perspectives.
Behaviours and processes always need to change and evolve as an organisation ‘grows up’. It often appears easier to do it the way you have always done it, but if it’s not the best thing for the organisation you must leave that comfort zone behind and see what lies beyond! For me it’s also a good example of how a Board can model behaviours that it would like to see from the organisation’s management team – in this case it was discipline and intentional action which were needed at that time to really drive WorkingRite into the next phase of growth – and so this was how the Board decided to approach this and its other activities and tasks. Finally this change in approach also reminded me of how many highly skilled people are out there just waiting for the right opportunity that will allow them to make a difference.
We have taken a pause this month to undertake a Board Skills Audit to continue our (intentional) progress towards being the best Board money can’t buy. This is a transparent process. Each Trustee completes a self assessment on what they can offer, what they are learning, what they are hoping to learn, and then we will conclude together with the management team what skills we don’t have but need and how we might find them. One thing we all know we have to work on, like so many Boards out there, is gender diversity…. however for us the task is a bit different… as an all-female Board right now we really need some men to balance things out…
As it is Trustees Week, I would like to thank all the WorkingRite Trustees for all they do to help the organisation thrive. And to everyone at WorkingRite, right across Scotland, thank you for your incredible work. I am in awe of what you do every day.
Zoe Whyatt, Chair