Claire Logan, head of people and talent at PA Consulting, is quoted in Board Agenda in its article on what it takes to lead companies and how leaders of the future can be nurtured.
The article makes a link between corporate leadership lessons from Broadway, and notes research by Brian Uzzi, who suggests that “they share a certain magic”.
Claire Logan, head of people and talent at PA Consulting, says: “The Broadway research provides fascinating lessons for boards to look at, if not borrow from, as they build up the teams around them.”
Claire adds that finding the right dynamic is the greatest challenge for an effective board. “Getting that dynamic requires different states of mind being used at the same time,” she adds.
Claire then says: “There is no magic bullet. There are special roles, but there is no special model that works. The best approach depends on your starting point. Good chairmen or women will say to themselves, how can we get the best team to work?”
Claire goes on to say that most boards face a tough dichotomy between dealing with what’s happening now on the ground, and the future. But it can be done by investing time and effort, and different techniques.
She suggests: “Great leaders are those who have a strong vision but do not infantilise the layer of managers below the top board.
“Critical to any company’s success, therefore, is to work with and draw on the resources of bright young things in the pipeline—from a more diverse background.”
Claire says there are many practical tools that boards can use to bring on and nurture diversity of thought. She goes on to add: “Creating shadow boards can be a powerful mechanism for bringing on the next generation of leaders by providing them with experience they would never have had the chance to gain.”
“Investing in such a bold step takes a chairperson with vision and patience,” Claire continues. “Members of the shadow board should be given all the minutes of board meetings, all the relevant papers, the time to study the papers etc. and report into the main board. This takes time and patience but will be worth it in the long-run.”
It’s a mechanism that Claire suggests could be tried in the financial services industry, where there is too little diversity in executives at board level. “Rather than appointing the same faces, companies should consider nurturing their own talent bank of women and others from more diverse backgrounds through shadow boards.”