5 September 2023
Leaders as Allies Session Takeaways: Driving Actions for Change and Building Greater Accountability for DEI
If you are, or will be, involved in the appointment of a new chair, trustee or chief executive of a charity, ACEVO and Green Park have produced a guide to support you throughout the process. The marketplace is never static and the candidate pool is never the same. Leadership and governance are changing rapidly and influence what organisations look for, the qualities they recruit for, and the cultures they want to establish. Recruitment practices evolve, and because we are dealing with people and people change their minds, even the best laid plans have to be adapted quickly and constantly. This guide provides a step by step process, from the planning phase to the post appointment phase, and will help you to plan ahead and prepare for common challenges.
The more different you want your candidate pool to be, the more time you will want to have in your market: those with less orthodox or more diverse careers and backgrounds may need greater encouragement to overcome any latent scepticism or doubt.
We at Green Park are delighted to have worked closely with Vicky Browning and her brilliant team at ACEVO on this report and are grateful the many across the sector who contributed with ideas and encouragement to this practical guide to the appointment of Civil Society leaders, specifically Chairs, Trustees, and Chief Executives.
Leadership is not a static concept. It changes and evolves. Governance is not a rigid set of rules. It is an adaptive set of principles. Inspirational leadership and enabling governance require individuals to do more than know the theory or follow the playbook. They require individuals to scan the horizon, understand and interpret the environment, judge what is required in response, identify and collaborate with other actors, and apply their experience and insight to situations in which, more often than not, they are dealing with incomplete or ambiguous information. Leaders require vision, creativity, resilience and intellectual as well as cultural dexterity.
In her introduction, Vicky talks about the blurring of boundaries between home and work, to which we would add the blurring of boundaries between the public, private and voluntary sectors, those between the media or the public and our institutions, or those between civil society organisations and their many stakeholders – funders, donors, supports, volunteers, staff, and those with lived expertise to name a few. Such porosity requires a more fluid, more agile way of leading. It places huge demands on Boards and Leadership Teams whose every decision is increasingly likely to be scrutinised and subject to commentary. Leaders today are more exposed than ever before. More is demanded of them.
That means the processes by which they are recruited should be more thorough than ever before. They should be more exacting and explore the many facets of leadership in different ways. They should also be more equitable. We need to start recognising our blueprint for leadership, and the systems by which we codify leadership, need adjustments. Too often, and for too long, recruitment processes have relied on leadership styles and concepts that are decades old. With leadership becoming more inclusive, more representative, more about the system than the individual, the processes by which we hire need tweaking. Improving. If we are to respond to the many societal challenges – and, yes, opportunities – that have existed for a long time and which have been thrown into sharper, harder-edged relief by the pandemic, we will need to ensure our ability to attract, assess, secure and retain the very best and broadest talent is enhanced and that the processes by which we do this are deliberately, intentionally, and authentically robust, open and inclusive.
Together with ACEVO, we very much hope that this guide provides a solid foundation on which to build.
Kai Adams, Managing Partner, Civil Society & Government, Green Park
The full report is free for Green Park clients and candidates, if you would like a copy please get in touch with your consultant or contact us at Charities&SocialEnterprise@green-park.co.uk
Alternatively it is free for ACEVO members or a small charge for non members. Downlaod HERE.