Over the last almost 30 years as a consultant, an investment analyst and board member, I have observed and been part of many board meetings. One thing that has struck me is the importance of effective boardroom conversations and how often boards fall short in this area. Ineffective boardroom conversations lead to risk-blindness, missed opportunities and poor decision making.
So what are the requirements for a good boardroom conversation?
Communicative competency is key. As we mature we develop our own distinctive patterns of interaction and communication. These patterns can be observed in the positions we take in conversation, the words we choose when we speak, and the implicit rules we follow when interacting with others.
Family systems therapist and organisational consultant Dr. David Kantor calls these patterns, our ‘behavioural propensities’. Your Behavioural Propensities Profile is a set of distinctive behaviours that you typically express in ordinary, low stress, interpersonal situations. As well as being observable, behavioural propensities can be identified through an online questionnaire.
Raising your awareness about your own propensities and then learning how to recognise others’ propensities as they play out in conversations are the first steps in developing communicative competency. The ultimate goal is to learn how to expand your repertoire: knowing when to deploy more of the behaviours available to you.
Improving the quality of boardroom conversations requires great communicative competency amongst board members. It starts with an understanding of your own profile and its impact on your fellow board members.
Margaret Williamson is accredited by the Kantor Institute to offer the individual and the team Behavioural Propensities Profiles. For more information contact her on 07767 225813 or email Margaret@boardroomdevelopment.com.