If you search non-executive, the chances are that you’ll get millions of results for non-executive director (NED),

The Institute of Directors (IoD), defines the role of a NED as, “to provide a creative contribution to the board by providing independent oversight and constructive challenge to the executive directors.” (https://bit.ly/3dSNrGl).

However, from my observations many SME companies do not have regular formal board meetings. Could they still benefit from such a supportive role?

I define the role of non-exec team member as, “to provide a creative contribution to the business by providing independent oversight and constructive challenge to business leaders and senior management teams.” See what I did there? In reality there is no difference in the service, support and guidance, except that your business may not have a board of directors, or you may not have a formal board meeting.

Having said all that, my favourite bite-sized definition for either role is ‘critical friend’.

My role as a non-executive team member

As a business owner and leader without a formal board, you may find yourself making those big decisions regarding hiring, growth strategies, operational changes and so on, alone.

It’s likely that you already fill your time with ‘jobs to do’ and as a result find it difficult to carve out time for loved ones or even planning processes and strategies in your business.

My role as a non-exec team member is to provide an additional pair of eyes and ears in your business, to be a sounding board and challenge you / your team members. If like other business owners, you chair your team meetings, but feel uncomfortable with challenging individuals due to the relationship or your knowledge of their specialist area (eg marketing, sales, finance etc). That’s where I can help!

I also work closely with you to challenge where you focus your energy in running your business, manage those ‘top of mind’ friction points to remove the weight on your chest or worry from your shoulders and help you recognise which opportunities are distractions and which ones need your attention.

As an external member of your business, I’m not on the payroll, but I do act as a fully invested member of your team.

How does it work?

Simply put, we meet regularly to discuss what issue, or desire is top of mind for you. Are you frustrated, worried, or excited by something and looking to explore the potential in a situation? Do you need support with making decisions about your people, supply chain, cashflow or something that’s holding you back from taking the next step to scaling your business?

Perhaps you nod along willingly when your key leaders present their reports without feeling you can challenge them.

As a mentor, I bring my vast experience in setting up, running, and selling businesses to your meetings. What I don’t bring is a multi-tool of quick-fix exercises or forms to fill in. Each business owner, business and discussion is different, no one size fits all.

My best tip for knowing when you need a critical friend

How was your summer? Did you find yourself turning down events, like potentially great networking opportunities or even social get togethers because you were too busy, covering holidays for staff or just wanting to catch up on something else, like sleep and housework? Lack of time, lack of time off, loss of social life and long hours are a sign that you could use some help.

There’s more to read about my role as a non-executive Director or team member here: https://entrepreneursmentor.co.uk/non-exec-and-support/, or maybe you’d prefer to look at time management first? Whatever it is you need support with, I can help, without obligation. And remember, I offer a free business mentoring session if it’s your first time.

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