I was recently part of a non-executive directors selection process. One element involved my chairing of a mock board. My board colleagues were two professional actors and seven candidate non-executives.
Of course, everyone was acting to some extent, and there were competitive pressures underlying an otherwise collegiate exercise.
Let me focus on the two professionals.
They had no real grasp of “content” beyond the short written brief they had been given and a short conversation with the real directors – now sitting in critical audience of the mock board.
But gosh they were awesome!
They modelled a presence that was respectful and listening-ful, and they used questions in a way that invited exploration and reflection and created the conditions for fresh insight.
They helped the board to think together.
They played as a team, not just between each other tag-style, but also with their “colleagues”. They handed off to one another, building on each other’s contributions, yet never colluding with a position that seemed soap-boxy and untested. They weaved artfully between advocacy and inquiry – sometimes leading, sometimes opposing, sometimes building, sometime inviting pause for reflection.
Never broadcasting, never withdrawing. Always fully and powerfully engaged.
The Fresh Air Learning Company