Attributes of the Professional Director

Launched June 2019 Updated January 2022 9 lectures
Dr. Kellie Vincent
University of Bedfordshire Business School, UK

The acronym VUCA – which stands for volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous, and refers to the chaotic world we inhabit today - has become firmly planted in business language.... read more

So, what do future CEOs and leaders need to be equipped to face all kinds of different scenarios thrown at them by the real business world? How can education shape their knowledge and ensure they can succeed in an increasingly competitive global environment?
Having worked with accreditation bodies, employers and alumni, my colleagues and I identified ten attributes that we view as essential for successful directors to possess.

The ten attributes relate to the director as a steward, leader, strategist, change agent, innovator, investor, digital advocate, entrepreneur, collaborator and mentor. All ten attributes work together to form a set of valuable devises to draw upon in the toolbox of the board when making strategic decisions. The view adopted within the series of talks is that these ten attributes are equally applicable regardless of whether directors operate within executive or non-executive roles.

Of course, there are different legal obligations, roles and objectives that have application to executive and non-executive directors and these are covered in each lecture as they are relevant to each attribute. It is also important to consider differences in the way directors must operate in practice given the scale, nature and organisational structure of the business which they direct as well as the jurisdictions within which the company pursues its business. Each of the talks will contain at least two alternative contexts to illustrate points using real organisational case studies.

It is impossible to single out any one attribute as being more relevant than others, and in the context of VUCA they tend to be inextricably linked. With that in mind, we take each attribute in turn as a separate lecture within the series, to explore how to become a more successful and professional director.

Speakers should note that unless they make clear that only a sub-set of companies is being discussed, statements of what directors should be and do apply equally to the sole director of a small local company as to a global manufacturer with a holding company in the USA and subsidiaries in numerous other countries.