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Directors must question relevance

Dec 05 2018

Dan Hellyer
Photo: Deloitte Queenstown partner Dan Hellyer

Directors must continue to question their relevance in terms of skills and experience according to Institute of Directors (IoD) member Dan Hellyer, who runs the Queenstown office of multinational professional services firm Deloitte.

“We live in a fast-changing environment — directors must continue to learn and develop skills to remain relevant,” says Dan. “People need to ask themselves where they want to be in five years’ time,” he adds.

Dan and 21 other up-and-coming directors and senior executives from Queenstown and Central Otago region yesterday completed a six-session Governance Development Programme conducted by the IoD.

“This is why having IoD programmes such as the governance course is great, as it helps people like me in the development of my own governance career, and as a secondary benefit, it helps me understand the roles and responsibilities some of our clients have in their governance roles,” says Dan. This is particularly so given the changing context of governance that organisations face including technological disruptions and sustainability issues.

As a professional business advisor working with people who hold governance roles all the time, Dan said it was good to get insights into what makes them tick.

“The exposure to top local directors who presented the course was likewise invaluable,” says Dan.

Asked what his other key takeaways were from the course, Dan says getting a clear distinction between management and governance resonated with him. He also highlighted the importance of not letting ego get in the way of good decision making around governance opportunities.

The course, which was run by the Institute of Directors Otago Southland branch, covered topics on governance essentials including legal and regulatory frameworks, board charters, the role of the board, culture and ethics, board composition, board protocols, board and management relationships and succession planning.

IoD Otago Southland branch chair Trish Oakley says the dynamic learning experience through which this course was delivered meant participants could reflect on and apply learnings in their board roles between sessions.

“They come back to the next session with questions, discussion topics, and further real-life applications,” says Trish.

“The different perspectives and personal experiences shared by both the facilitators and other attendees take participants beyond the textbook into true experiential learning,” Trish adds.

IoD is a non-partisan voluntary membership organisation committed to ‘driving excellence in governance’. It represents about 9,000 members drawn from listed issuers, large private organisations, small and medium enterprises, state sector and not-for-profit organisations and charities.