I want to develop my director skills

No matter what career stage, astute directors take every opportunity to enhance their skills and board competencies.

The IoD offers lots of ways to enhance your director skills. From comprehensive resources to formal training, networking opportunities to mentoring. Here we give the top ten tips to develop your skills based on your level of experience.

I'm new to directorship

You’re new to the role of director and want to do things right. You report to a board and want to understand more about how you can add value. Here are the top things you can do to develop your governance skills.


Join the IoD. If you’re not already a member, join the IoD to access a wealth of information and resources. If you’re under 40 you can enjoy all the benefits of membership and receive 40% off the annual subscription. You can join as a Member or an Associate. Members are required to commit to Continuing Professional Development (CPD).

Read The Four Pillars of Governance Best Practice which is included in your membership pack. It’s a comprehensive guide on the practical day-to-day issues faced as a director.

Take a look at the IoD New Zealand Director Competency Framework for a good understanding of what competencies you need to operate effectively in the boardroom.
Undertake some formal governance training. Our Essentials of Directorship series will provide you with a comprehensive framework of governance knowledge. If you’ve been on a board for at least a year or have been dealing regularly with a board, you should consider our 5-day Company Directors’ Course (CDC), a must-do for ensuring your governance knowledge and performance in the boardroom. Completion of the CDC is the first step in becoming a Chartered Member.
Tap into the wealth of resources provided to members via the Governance Leadership Centre. Governance UpdatesDirectorsBriefs, Practice Guides and other information available on IoD’s website. Look out for essential updates as they’re emailed to you. They’re not just ‘nice-to-reads’, they’re essential to being well-informed in your role.

Connect with your local branch and attend branch events.

IoD’s annual Leadership Conference lays claim to being the gold standard professional development event for the director community and is well worth committing to attend each year. Significant time is invested in ensuring a line-up of thought leaders, strategists and business leaders who will really challenge your thinking.

Consider applying for an Emerging Director Award or attending aspiring director lunch or dinner functions. Click here to see what’s available in your local branch.

List on our Future Directors database to be put forward for the opportunity to observe and participate on a board for 12 months.

Look for other opportunities to gain board positions such as listing on IoD’s DirectorSearch database (if you are an IoD member) or applying for opportunities on DirectorVacancies.

 

I’d call myself a mid-career director

You’ve been on a number of boards and are looking to develop your career further. You’re committed to developing the full range of competencies needed to be an effective director.


Chartered Membership pathway: Chartered Member
Membership of the IoD means a commitment to life-long learning and professional standards for directors. If you're a member of the governing body of a qualifying organisation – one that has a meaningful separation of its executive and governance functions, complete or have completed the Company Directors’ Course (CDC) and passed the Chartered Member Assessment, you can apply to become a Chartered Member. You must confirm that you will uphold the principles of the Charter, are of good character and are a fit and proper person to be a Chartered Member. You will continue to be required to undertake Continuing Professional Development (CPD).

The Governance Leadership Centre (GLC) is your source of knowledge on governance best practice including The Four Pillars of Governance Best Practice. Keep this guide accessible or refer to it online as a handy reference on practical issues you encounter in your director roles. The GLC will also keep you up to date on the latest issues you should be aware of via Governance Updates, DirectorsBriefs, Practice Guides and other information they make available on IoD’s website. Look out for essential updates as they’re emailed to you. They’re not just ‘nice-to-reads’, they’re essential to being well-informed in your role.

Continue to consult the IoD New Zealand Director Competency Framework to understand the competencies you need to skill up on to operate effectively in the boardroom. Once you assess the particular areas of focus for your development, you might consider the range of courses on offer through the IoD including Audit and Risk Committees as well as the Company Directors’ Course Refresher. You should also continue to improve your knowledge base, and improve your skills, on an on-going basis through fundamental courses all directors should take, such as Health and Safety Governance, Ethics and Directors' and Officers' Insurance.
Connect with your local branch and attend branch events. Branch events count towards your CPD as well as providing a valuable forum for you to network.
IoD’s annual Leadership Conference lays claim to being the gold standard professional development event for the director community and is well worth committing to attend each year. Significant time is invested in ensuring a line-up of thought leaders, strategists and business leaders who will really challenge your thinking.

Encourage the boards on which you sit to undertake a formal board evaluation such as IoD’s BetterBoards. Undertaking an evaluation is a great opportunity to improve not only your own skills but the way your board operates as a whole. To really get the most from the process, a facilitated session can also be commissioned from the IoD.

Reading is an important part of your director development and in addition to the wealth of reference material within the Governance Leadership Centre, make sure you take the time to read our bi-monthly magazine BoardRoom. It includes articles which give the inside story on major governance issues both within New Zealand and internationally. Up to 10 points governance reading can contribute annually towards your CPD.

Consider applying for Mentoring for Diversity. This programme is for mid to high level directors ready to step up to large company boards It links mentees with mentors who are chairs and senior director from NZX and large company boards. Applicants can apply on the basis of a range of diversity criteria including gender, ethnicity, age, skillset and background. Applications for the programme open in February/March.

Consider becoming involved with your local IoD committee or offering to present locally on your specific area of expertise. As you become more experienced, a big part of development is about giving back to the profession. Surprisingly these opportunities often become a two-way learning experience.

Look for other opportunities to gain board positions. Make sure your details are up-to-date, including your CV, on IoD’s DirectorSearch database or apply for DirectorVacancies opportunities. You can view these online or they are emailed to you regularly.

 

I’m an experienced director

There’re many types of experienced directors just as there are many types of organisations that make up the governance spectrum. Some directors have been on boards of small not-for-profit for many years. Others have been in big executive roles and then on the boards of large commercial entities for a smaller number of years. The following suggestions are aimed at experienced directors of organisations of substance looking at, not only what they might do for director development, but what they might give back so the profession benefits from their experience.


Chartered Membership pathway: Chartered Fellow
Membership of the IoD means a commitment to life-long learning and professional standards for directors. If you have been on the board of an entity of substance for a number of years, you might be eligible to apply to become a Chartered Fellow. There are two pathways into fellowship in terms of time, depending on whether you have completed the Company Directors’ Course (CDC) and passed the Chartered Member Assessment. For further details on criteria, click here.

The Governance Leadership Centre (GLC) is the source of knowledge on governance best practice including, The Four Pillars of Governance Best Practice. The GLC will also keep you up to date on the latest issues you should be aware of via Governance Updates, DirectorsBriefs, Practice Guides and other information they make available on IoD’s website. Look out for essential updates as they’re emailed to you. They’re not just ‘nice-to-reads’, they’re essential to being well-informed in your role.

Our experienced directors tell us they benefit most from interactive sessions where they can learn and contribute with peers. Even at the most experienced level we suggest you consult the IoD New Zealand Director Competency Framework to understand any competencies you need to work on or new areas you wish to develop. You might consider attending one of our Experienced Director Series, Chairing the Board, Company Directors' Course Refresher, the Leading Directors Forum or if you are operating in the large listed environment, attending one of our invitation-only events.
Connect with your local branch and attend branch events. Branch events count towards your CPD. Your attendance is also a valuable way of giving back to other less experienced directors who benefit from your experience and advice.
Encourage the boards on which you sit to undertake a formal board evaluation such as IoD’s BetterBoards. Undertaking an evaluation is a great opportunity to improve not only your own skills but the way your board operates as a whole. To really get the most from the process, a facilitated session can also be commissioned from the IoD.

Reading is an important part of your director development and in addition to the wealth of reference material within the Governance Leadership Centre, make sure you take the time to read our bi-monthly magazine BoardRoom. It includes articles which give the inside story on major governance issues both within New Zealand and internationally. Up to 10 points governance reading can contribute annually towards your CPD.

IoD’s annual Leadership Conference lays claim to being the gold standard professional development event for the director community and is well worth committing to attend each year. Significant time is invested in ensuring a line-up of thought leaders, strategists and business leaders who will really challenge your thinking.

Consider becoming a mentor on our Mentoring for Diversity programme or becoming a host board for our Future Directors programme. Both programmes are aimed at developing the pipeline of director talent, albeit Mentoring for Diversity is aimed at mid to high level directors ready to step up to large company boards while Future Directors is aimed at new director talent.

Consider becoming involved with your local IoD committee or offering to share some of your war stories by presenting at branch events. Our members tell us this is one of their most valuable ways of learning. A big part of development is about giving back to the profession and we recognise this by including these activities as recognised CPD. Surprisingly these opportunities often become a two-way learning experience.