Global leadership in free trade requires we utilise our free standing army of independent non-executive directors fully
If our post-Brexit vision is the UK will be the “global leader in free trade”, Gerry Brown calls upon Theresa May to make sure that she uses her independent non-executive director resources to the full. Brown comments, “Theresa May needs to unleash and empower the transformative resource of the standing army of truly independent non-executive directors she already has on hand to guide Britain in our global free trade leadership future. Independent directors have a proven track record in interrogating and implementing cross border strategy, negotiation and thought leadership, holding managements to account, telling truth to power and delivering properly resourced strategic growth initiatives.” While we wait for the May government to identify and specify their post-Brexit world trade agreements, strategy, timelines, goals, deliverables or milestones - the only certainty for UK businesses and the financial markets are uncertainty and its closely related cousin volatility. Though the situation is very fluid, based on his research as well as his successful non-executive career, Gerry Brown’s The Independent Director: The Non-Executive Director's Guide to Effective Board Presence reveals the five skills independent non-executive directors will bring to our free trade negotiations. Key non-executive directorship skills vital to navigating future free trade relationships successfully include:
Due diligence Look beyond catastrophising media reports to research what are the likely possible outcomes and timings as well as obstacles each creates.
Strategy Analyze current strategic position, understand key EU & G7 strategic issues (including regulatory, financial, operational and the relative of merits of alliances or partnerships), develop new strategic options and then set milestones/goals to monitor progress.
Resourcing Apply due diligence reports to understand cash flow and liquidity, debt-to-GDP ratios, regulatory environment, capital requirements, financial controls, bank support and insurance.
Governance Should be aware of how EU, G7 & EEA governance has evolved and be familiar with the relevant codes and possibilities of intervention.
Independent advice Rather than ‘yes men/women’ or Remain/Leave hobby-horse riders, independent experts from a wide variety of backgrounds check their prejudices in at the door to be sensible sounding boards, counsellors, challengers, facilitators and mentors required.