Some sessions from previous Henley Inside series
We hope you found the Henley Inside webinar series helpful, that you learned something new and discovered more about our programmes. You can find session recordings below along with other information from the series.
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PLEASE NOTE: these recordings are for event registrants and client viewing only and must not be publicly shared.
Find comparison tables below for a brief overview of our programmes
Programme comparison - Leadership programmes
Programme comparison - Strategic Management programmes
Programme comparison - HR short programmes
Henley Inside series 1
Henley Inside Series 2
For each webinar, attendees were encouraged to ask questions, below are a few collected from the chat that we couldn’t answer on the day. Including, what can you do when a leader is in denial, how can you get other managers/leaders in on your insight from the programme, can this programme help join a board in an overseas company?
|Q: I see leaders struggling to balance requirements such as fulfilling the EDI charter, and on the other hand not losing touch with the everyday "normal" needs of their staff (COVID related issues, mental health and others). How can leaders approach this best to ensure this balance is kept?
|A - Suzanne Pollack: Great question! I think an interesting implication of what you are asking is that the approach to EDI that the leaders you are hearing about are taking, seems to be leading to a number of their employees feel marginalised, or at least not paid attention to. Not the best outcome when these leaders are aiming to deliver equality, diversity and inclusivity! I guess it’s about how we do what we do as leaders that will avoid any groups in an organisation feeling under appreciated/ under recognised . How can we engage everyone positively in the changes we as leaders seek to bring about? This brings me back to the point I made this morning about stepping back and thinking about the many issues we face at so many levels in an organisation and how we can bring teams together at all levels to bring about sustainable change that is in line with our aims. It takes time, energy, thought, care and attention...Yes, I agree, people are rethinking their relationship with work and other aspects of their life. It’s potentially very positive for the employee and presents some potential challenges for leadership.
|Q: So many leaders are in denial on how they are coping with current environments. How do you approach a leader who is?
|A - Suzanne Pollack: A good question! Denial has the positive intention of protecting us from something that at some level of awareness we feel unable to deal with and therefore do not want to deal with. In cases of denial, in my experience, forcing the issue can yield results, but is equally likely to reinforce the denial. On the Leadership Programme, we use a range of tools to metaphorically "hold up a mirror” in safe space, so that what has not been possible to face becomes not only possible to face but possible to change. The 360 feedback, the MBTI and the Firo-B pre-work together with the 1-1 coaching conversations to enable this to happen in a way, and at a pace, that makes it possible for the leader to become self aware and to generate new ways of behaving.
|Q: What resources could you suggest for new and upcoming leaders?
|A - Suzanne Pollack: Resources for a new/up and coming leader. How about “Turn the ship Around” by David Marquet or Jon mentioned his book Leadership: "No More Heroes" by David Pendleton, Adrian Furnham and Jon Cowel. Also, the work of James Kouzes and Barry Posner. A lifetime of investigation on what team members experience as good leadership.
|Q: One of the biggest questions is how organisations are adapting, how they are helping upcoming leaders change…as many of the future skills that are required are not exhibited by current leaders (who hold the purse strings) and therefore maybe change is being stopped. Are organisations changing and how do you get them to pay attention if they are not?
|A - Jon Cowell: Often a matter for the Board in the end: they have to test and maintain their confidence in the ability of the exec and management to keep the organisation viable, and if they don’t have that confidence they have to find people who can. If the Board do not do this, they are failing in their fiduciary duties to the owners, and the owners (shareholders / partners) need to remove them and find people who will.
|Q: What did you learn about how leaders can build trust through remote learning?
|A - Jon Cowell: The usual things still apply (integrity, competence, etc) but may be harder to do. Social identity theory (e.g. Tajfel and Turner, 1982; also Haslam et al 2015 The New Psychology of Leadership) is helpful on this: the key psychological outcomes of identifying oneself with a group are trust, liking and ingroup altruism/self-sacrifice; social identity is especially built by leaders being ‘one of us’ and working ‘for us’. Leaders who separate themselves from their groups undercut their legitimacy and get thrown out in the end – hence the way Labour has focussed so much on ‘one rule for them and another for us’: it fundamentally damages the legitimacy of the PM as a leader of both his party and the country.
|Q: How do you get other managers/management to have that insight if only you joined the programme and experience it?
|A - Jeff Callander: The participants leave as “ambassadors” to strategy and we talk at length before the end of the first module about how they hope to affect change in their organisation and then revisit this on the second, follow-up day, module. Here we can then discuss the successes and challenges they have faced over the interim and look at solutions and next steps. Most often is is them selecting areas where they can have immediate impact and success and growing these. It has been the strategy of some companies to send more that one on the course either at the same time (usually limited to three) or over a period of time.
|Q: Would an external consultant benefit from this programme the same way as an internal manager does?
|A - Jeff Callander: A short answer is yes of course but it has usually been the case that the individual is between roles and it is for self development for a future role or the individual takes on interim roles where they can use the capabilities and influence their client organisations. As many of the consultancies do have strategy development and/or implementation services, this could also enhance their capabilities, particularly as the course builds the learning and capability of developing insight through working with organisations’ stakeholders and there would be learnings of how to influence this best as a third party while introducing more practical tools and practices.
|Q: In my new role, I need to provide strategy to my team who are responsible for the growth and development of our client base, but I'm not responsible for the wider business strategy (although they are of course linked) - would the strategy course be applicable or to wider business lead?
|A - Jeff Callander: Strategy is by it nature not confined to a level but in fact ideally continuously linked. Often the complexity of the organisation dictates independent but aligned business strategies that may be product or function based but these still need to manage upward as well as downward and therefore a thorough understanding of strategy is critical as well as a development needed for future roles as the individual progresses in their organisation. It can also be a good way for the individual to become a valuable contributor of the overall strategy architecture.
|Q: How much of the course is principles and tools led as against bespoke surgery for individual strategies?
|A - Jeff Callander: Reversing the question somewhat, as the participants bring their pre-work that concerns their organisation’s strategy, we us this throughout the course as practical input to the tools and testing of the principles. The course is very much workshop combined with lecture and not lecture driven.
|Q: I don’t have an experience in Boards, can this program help me start my journey with boards?
|A - Andrew Kakabadse: Yes, this programme is intended to help people start their journey towards board membership.
|Q: How does this course apply to one who’s working with UK company or looking to join board in companies that are based of some other country like Singapore, Dubai or India?
|A - Andrew Kakabadse: The course attracts speakers and participants from all over the world with Asia, Middle East and India being two regions in particular. The course provides a global overview of board contribution and performance.
|Q: If the stewardship is attended to, can or will, it make compliance easier? It seems from experience that compliance is worked backwards, in other words reports or operational outcomes are focussed on meeting regulations and metrics and asked to be modified to meet the rules or muddy the water to get the achieved answer.
|A - Andrew Kakabadse: Compliance seems to be occupying 80% of boardroom time, or that is what many board directors tell me. What is more worrying is that uncomfortable stewardship issues are not being dealt with because certain board directors hide behind compliance protocol and thus are much less legally liable. It takes considerable courage to fully address the stewardship issues facing the board and organisation and from what I see current practice is unlikely to change.
|Q: What is the role of the Board Secretary in ensuring the Chairman and CEO are adhering their respective "delegated" roles and responsibilities whereby a NON Executive Chairman does not undertake "executive" duties?
|A - Andrew Kakabadse: The role and contribution of the Secretary to the Board is absolutely vital. Please see our ICSA Report entitled ‘Company Secretary: Role of Breadth and Majesty’. Board secretaries support the Chair and the CEO only as a member of the Board. True, non-exec Chairs do not undertake executive duties.
|Q: What are your thoughts about the appointment of “Lead Independent Director(s)” on publicly listed companies whose role in general would include: provide a sounding board for the Chair, provide an additional communications channel for shareholders, lead the evaluation of the Chair, take responsibility for the Chair succession process, etc?
|A - Andrew Kakabadse: The lead independent director (LID) follows the US tradition of the senor independent director (SID). In the US the SID is the Chair in waiting when the Chair gets sacked and this is because the US system is one of role duality i.e. when the Chair and CEO are one of the same person. This is not the case in the UK which can lead to role confusion. Hence LIDs (UK) are one of the most vulnerable roles on the Board. Their contribution varies from being a sounding board for the Chair, an additional channel to shareholders, evaluates the performance of the Chair, leads the Chair succession process, or none of these. A difficult role and one that requires a supportive Chair and certain Chairs are anything but supportive.
|Q: Is this programme suitable for those looking to become board members as well as existing board members?
|A - Andrew Kakabadse: Yes, this programme is suitable for those looking to becoming board members as well as existing board members.
|Q: What makes a good NED? Do you need to have come from a C-suite background?
|A - Andrew Kakabadse: It is critical that any NED is conscious of the value they deliver (or not) and leaves their board when such value begins to diminish. Sound NEDs must show strong intellectual capacity, be financially literate, show sensitive people skills, political awareness for negotiations in a strength of character/resilience way and sound ethical principles. From there on in, skills and qualities required by different boards vary considerably.
|Q: How much is the ego driven "cult of personality" still at play in Board governance failures today?
|A - Andrew Kakabadse: Yes, ego and cult of personality do influence strategic leaders as well as board members. It is true that any strategic leader needs to display distinct confidence in the direction they pursue. However, there is a fine tipping point between confidence and ego and that is when the leaders do not listen to relevant contrary views.
|Q (for alum speaker): What would you say was your deepest learning from the whole programme?
|A - Shawn D. Mathis: The deepest learning from the whole programme is a more comprehensive worldview of stakeholder value creation guided by the Director Board. As stewards of the good of the stakeholder, the Director Board approaches all matters from a cosmopolitan, holistic perspective.
|Q (for alum speaker) How is the practice in the US where the CEO is part of the Board and even the Chair of the Board able to keep the separation between management and keep Board oversight independent?
|Independent oversight is challenging to manage when authority is centralized in one person. The Director Board represents stakeholder interests which often have competing agendas; opportunities for conflict emerge. A seasoned Board navigates conflict toward healthy tension. The tension found in competing agendas, if managed well, can be a source of balanced management of stakeholder interests. Diversity of knowledge and experience is requisite for best practice strategic decisions.
|The Director Board is responsible for hiring, managing, and terminating the corporation's chief executive. Independent thought and decisions by the Director Board are necessary for managing this responsibility. Each Director contributes to the collective Director Board obligation to steward the stakeholders' interests. The value of the Non-Executive Director is of great importance to the integrity of this process.
|The U.S. paradigm in which the chief executive participates on the Director Board and at times in the role of Chair creates difficult circumstances for separation between management and oversight. The situation conflates independence of thought and decision. The dual role of chief executive and board member embodied in one person is not advisable. The blurring of roles can lead to an over-exertion of influence in the decision process. Corporate politics ensue. Relationship management among conflicting agendas can be complex when the chief executive lobbies for decisions from the management role but engages the authority of the Director Board role to lead to the desired executive outcome. Difficult decisions require a Director Board's independence of thought rather than the unilateral movement of the chief executive/board member. Risk mitigation argues for separating the chief executive as an independent role with the obligation to fulfill the directives by the Director Board.