I have always been driven by collaboration – it’s one of my watchwords. In today’s world, with so much disruption taking place, the need to collaborate has come to the fore even more. I firmly believe that the ability to collaborate will define successful businesses in the years ahead.
Admittedly the word collaboration is currently overused. Sometimes it is used to describe what is really just ‘cooperation’. For organisations or individuals to be collaborating, they must truly share the goal that they are working towards, and not just be working beside each other.
Over the years, working in many different organisations and teams, I have observed that, when they have acted collaboratively, resources have generally been used much more efficiently. They also achieved better overall outcomes.
As the IoD undertakes necessary change this year, we want to be able to grow in the scale we need to engage more with the wider world. We have a fantastic brand that continues to shine brightly and we want to magnify that further – collaboration is one of the ways we can achieve this.
Take director training, for example. Improving and developing directors is a core mission of ours at the IoD. Boards and directors I work with are all calling out for access to a more diverse group of talented people for their succession planning. They are looking to widen the talent pipeline to fulfil the demands on directors today. We need to ask ourselves who should develop tomorrow’s directors, and how can it be done in scale.
This is where collaboration can come in. Working together with higher education organisations we can start training tomorrow’s directors in scale and encompassing a fully diverse group of talent.
Today’s directors should take a central role in developing the directors of tomorrow. Taking an active role in cultivating future leaders through mentoring, engaging, tutoring and sharing lessons learnt is something I have done for years. It is immensely rewarding to be part of developing an environment that makes other people successful – and I’m sure many of our members have had similar experiences.
At the IoD we have as members thousands of current directors with an amazing amount of combined board experience. If we can work to co-ordinate and leverage this experience to help the education of the next generation of business leaders and entrepreneurs, it will no doubt bring great benefit to our economy and society.
I’m sure that’s a goal we can all share.