In this photo (from left to right): Frik Landman, Dr Namane Magau (guest speaker) and Prof Arnold Smit
To be authentic and ethnical is of the most important qualities a board director of a company can have. It should be a case of striving for excellence in integrity. This goes hand in hand with courage. Be helpful to the company, but have the courage of your conviction and say what needs to be said.
A board director is in essence there to keep the company safe, solvent and compliant with global and local regulations. Also to ensure the ongoing competitiveness of the company
This is according to Dr Namane Magau, chairperson of national nuclear medicine company NTP and who also serves on a range of other board of directors, speaking to a group of participants as a guest speaker at the third and last module of the Africa Directors Programme (ADP) presented in Stellenbosch recently.
Old Mutual Investment Group is the corporate partner of the ADP programme, which also sees the involvement of the esteemed INSEAD Corporate Governance Initiative with its world renowned International Directors Programme, the USB Centre for Corporate Governance in Africa and the IODSA.
Dr Magau said that when appointed to a board, one must never forget that it is an honour and recognition of your strengths as a person. It should never be taken for granted and one should always keep in mind to:
- Remain a “student” of the company and learn as much as possible of the company and the industry in which it operates.
- Listen, observe and influence. Good leaders influence and inspire people around them.
- Talk to various people in the company and at different levels. Directors must get to know the people in the company, and also the people as individuals.
- Research the company and what the media saying about it, including social media
- Study the competition.
- Remember that women and youth on a board are just as important.
“This will extend your understanding of the business, the risks it faces, the opportunities and prospects of the company. You are there to inspire leadership, the people in the company and the community that is linked to the company.
“A director should help to develop executive leadership and management and be a role model,” Dr Magau said.
Frik Landman, CEO of USB Executive Development (USB-ED) said it is ironic that the African continent is the best endowed with natural resources on the planet and yet also the poorest.
“With 11 million managers on the continent we do not seem to be able to turn this around into the richest and wealth for all, especially for the young people.
“We should seek wisdom and not just work with information and knowledge. We should practice leadership and make that part of our fibre in the way that we engage with others to lead on this continent,” Landman said.
Prof Arnold Smit, the programme director on USB-ED’s behalf, said: “Standing up for what you believe in while working effectively with fellow directors in a diverse and dynamic board environment is an important quality to develop.
“The ADP has certainly played a role in helping a very special group of women and men from Namibia, Botswana and South Africa to govern from now with even more purpose, confidence and skill.”