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How to become a better director

22 Nov 2017
Young business women in a training session

The recent launch of the IoD Academy provides directors with the ideal facilities to continue their professional development

The IoD has held its Royal Charter since 1906, and the work we do to promote professionalism in business continues to this day. We have a unique mandate to provide the training, support and tools necessary to create better directors, better business practice and a better economy.

In September, we opened the new IoD Academy at 116 Pall Mall. This state-of-the-art learning facility provides the ideal environment for directors to continue their professional development.

Finance for Non-Financial Directors is one of the modules that make up the IoD’s Certificate in Company Direction to equip you with the core knowledge and awareness needed to function effectively as a director.

Here, an IoD course leader along with a senior manager who recently took the Finance course at the Academy explain why knowing how to ‘do the numbers’ could be one of your wiser investments…

Paul Nelson – Senior Manager, Babcock International Group

“I left the Armed Forces last year in my mid-40s and joined Babcock International Group (which specialises in support services) with a view to developing a second career. I have aspirations for my own progression within the business so firstly, I decided to do the Finance course. I’ve been the chair of a board of trustees for a large charity and a treasurer for a large church so I thought I would tick a number of boxes in one go.

But in terms of my growth within the business, finance is clearly a key driver. Having an understanding of how the business operates and the financial decision-making behind it is a key part of that growth.

I wanted to go through a development route towards achieving Chartered Director status. Babcock is putting me on a scheme by which I will be able to go through that process, but I wanted to demonstrate my commitment first.

I became aware of the IoD through friends who are members and also, some of my colleagues who are going through the same process.

I really liked the Academy. My degree was in architecture, so I always tend to go into a building or space with something of a critical eye. But, also, it’s nice to do a course somewhere where you can get a good cup of coffee!

I was a training manager in the Navy for 20 years, so I also look at training spaces to see how I think they work for the learner and how effective they are at supporting the learning experience. The room was well set-up and the wider facilities give you what you would expect from an organisation such as the IoD.

You can go outside the learning space, it enables interaction, it enables privacy and provided all the things you’d like to have as well as what you need to have.”

Steve Giles – Course Leader, Finance for Non-Finance Directors

“There is a growing understanding that if we want to be more professional in our business lives, part of that involves a commitment to continuing our education.

To be credible as a business leader you’ve got to be up to date, and you’ve got to keep abreast of modern thinking. Also, the job of a director now is quite a tough one. You have to embrace other disciplines and one of those is finance.

Many directors, if pushed to give an answer, would admit that perhaps their area of weakness is around the numbers and so I always admire people who take the finance module but it increases their confidence to do that rounded job as a director.

I’m a chartered accountant by profession, so this is me going back to my roots and trying to bring an aspect of financial literacy to board members.

My courses are always based around two things. Firstly, to improve the directors’ performance in various aspects of their roles and I like that to be quite interactive, give them some flavour of my own experience and encourage them to put their experience on the table.

The second aspect is that many of the people who come to the IoD are looking to take the exams, to be part of that certification process. So, we’ve got to make sure that the material is relevant and we do lots of practice with examples and that is the approach of the entire IoD.

The old set up was fine but it has been completely transformed by the new Academy. It has a real feel-good factor and that translates through to the delegates.

It’s also a lot more dynamic. The two main rooms are more spacious with a lot more natural light and tech works really well. But I would also say that we’ve now got much more space for breakout work, for people to move outside of the main room and go to smaller space and work through the case studies in a more relaxed and friendly environment for that sort of task.

The acid test is always what happens when people come in and work there. So every tutor tries and make sure the delegates do offer comments, good or bad, about the Academy and I can honestly say the feedback has been very positive.”

For more information on the IoD Academy visit click here

For more information on Finance for Non-Financial Directors click here

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