High-performing companies require effective boards focused on ethical company growth. Such boards depend on each director maximising their contribution, and the board functioning as an engaged team that maximises its collective contribution. Maximised contribution leads to maximised return – for directors and the company.
To maximise return, each director should function with what is referred to as ‘natural energy’. Your natural energy reflects the way that you naturally think and operate. It is most easily observed in critical moments, when you will always respond in a particular way.
A critical or defining moment is usually a brief and intense pressure or turning point, in which your decision or action, dramatically impacts your journey positively or negatively. You will respond in that moment from your natural energy as your instinct kicks in. But your ability to respond effectively and in alignment with your natural flow can be developed through learning and development.
Some people are naturally innovative and intuitively drive concepts, projects and activity forward. Others wait for the right time to make a decision or take action based on their sense of the market, team or clients.
Some people will always be focused on who is affected by a decision and who they can connect with, whereas others will naturally think of the process or the system first and how that should operate. The concept of natural energy acknowledges that different people will naturally be more effective at different activities.
Balancing Your Board
The same is true of a board – a director whose natural energy is focused on detail and analysis could undermine a blue-sky strategy session by firing off too many questions on ‘the how’.
A company that requires a firm hand on implementation, quality and controls could be challenged by a visionary director who wants to always ‘change things up’. Expertise is essential, yet in a critical moment natural energy will always prevail.
We use a profiling tool that accurately positions a person as one of eight natural energy profiles. During the director selection and appointment process, we consider the balance of natural energy across the board to ensure that it is as diverse as possible and likely to have a balanced perspective to its debate and decision-making.
When there is a balance of natural energy around a board room table, there is more effective flow, and in turn results, for the directors and the business. A company that is focused on maximising its growth opportunities should commit to consciously understanding and bringing into balance the natural energies of its board.
No matter which profiling methodology is chosen, its consistent application is critical and increases in value over time as your understanding as an organisation deepens.
Maximising Your Contribution
By understanding your own profile you can develop a deeper awareness of your drives and unique, value-adding perspective. With emotional intelligence you can then consciously focus your point of view in a constructive manner.
By understanding the profiles of your fellow directors, there is a powerful opportunity to support them to master their engagement and contribution. For example, if one of your directors is a ‘Catalyst’, who accelerates changes, you would engage them on ‘what’ or ‘action’ questions, whereas you would ask a ‘Coach’ director for their input on ‘who’ questions or team considerations. It works both ways – self-development and the development of others.
Identifying, creating and sustaining your value, which you then leverage, is the cornerstone of working effectively with your natural energy. It requires that you have a deep understanding of your natural energy and that you use it to create, build and deliver value – for yourself, your board and the company.