Making a Difference: Leadership, Change and Giving Back the Independent Director Way by Gerry Brown

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Making a Difference: Leadership, Change and Giving Back the Independent Director Way by Gerry Brown

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Buy Making a Difference: Leadership, Change and Giving Back the Independent Director Way by Gerry Brown at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Business and Finance
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: An overview of why you should become an independent director and how to go about it. An excellent starting point. Gerry Brown popped into Bookbag Towers to chat to us.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 158 Date: December 2020
Publisher: De Gruyter
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-3110706079

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You're not there to run the organisation. You are there to make sure that it is run properly.

Gerry Brown is passionate about the benefits which Independent Directors can bring to a board - not just a corporate board, but the board of an NHS Trust, a university, a sports organisation or a charity. He's particularly keen that there's increased diversity on these boards and feels that this would help to avoid some of the scandals (Oxfam, Kids Company - we're thinking about you) which have occurred in recent years. For this to happen, boards need to have a wider field of people to choose from when they're looking for an ID.

There's a sameness about many boards: when there's been a problem Brown often looks at the details of the board concerned and finds that they can be summed up quite succinctly. They're male, pale and stale. He puts this lack of diversity down to the fact that boards are fishing from the same pool, although at least one of his anecdotes does illustrate that prejudice has not entirely gone away. But - the world has changed in ways that we could never have imagined at the end of 2019 and organisations are facing more challenges than ever before.

The UK is 14% BAME but there is nothing like this representation on boards. Women are under-represented too: Brown tells the story of the new ID who was mistaken at a board dinner for the maitre d' and asked for more bread and butter. Young people, with their knowledge of an increasingly digital world and disabled men and women, have so much to give, which is simply not being tapped into. So, how can this be changed?

Brown takes the aspiring ID through the reasons why they should step up, the benefits for the new ID and the board and how a new perspective can bring about change. An Independent Director needs to have certain characteristics and there are some character traits which mean that you would be better not applying! There are downsides to the positions and Brown is frank about these whilst insisting that it is always down to the individual to perform due diligence before accepting any position. He gives an outline of how to find your first ID position and how to prepare for interviews, signing contracts and the fees you might expect.

Fifteen diverse ID's are interviewed for the book and they and Brown give the upsides and the challenges of the job. It's stressed the liability starts from day one and that ignorance is no defence. For some people, it might be possible to hold an independent directorship alongside a full-time job, particularly if the employer offers Corporate Social Responsibility or Employer Supported Volunteering Schemes.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy of the book to the Bookbag. If you'd like a free, digital copy of this book here's the link for a download.

The book is an overview and reasonably easy reading if the subject interests you. If you are serious about an ID position, Brown's The Independent Director: The Non-Executive Director's Guide to Effective Board Presence (for corporate directorships) or The Independent Director in Society: Our current crisis of governance and what to do, co-authored with Andrew Kakabadse and Filipe Morais (for positions within the NHS, universities, sporting organisations and charities) are required reading.

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Buy Making a Difference: Leadership, Change and Giving Back the Independent Director Way by Gerry Brown at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Making a Difference: Leadership, Change and Giving Back the Independent Director Way by Gerry Brown at Amazon.com.

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