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Evolution and continuity

As a last board meeting, the November one was an inspiring meeting to end the year and my tenure on. The results of the APM Board elections had been announced the night before and it is heartening to see the vigour and enthusiasm in the new board members.

During the next board meeting, the board will decide who takes my place on the board. My board place is distinct from standard board places due to the fact that I was there at the invitation of the board, and particularly the board chairman, on a short term tenure to represent the views of the younger echelon of the membership. Although I was a full Board member in terms of voting rights, I was allowed to move across the portfolios, in order to learn as much as possible in this growth role. It is a role I have enjoyed and am most grateful for, in terms of learning opportunities. It is a role I will miss, but for me it is time to move on.

I am not just moving on from the board, but moving to Singapore temporarily to pursue an MBA at INSEAD, and thus am leaving both my flat and job. As I pack up I cannot help thinking about projects and the need for evolution whilst maintaining continuity. I could neither retain my board place or my job with the challenges that the MBA will present me with and both need more than I can give them. Change was needed.

As I prepared my handover at work, I wondered how and whom to I will handover my board place. How do you handover something that is so reliant on relationships and ensure continuity whilst not constraining wondered how and whom to I will handover my board place. How do you handover something that is so reliant on relationships and ensure continuity whilst not constraining our successors?
In the end, for the handover I could influence at the time, I prioritised: any process that is not so much people reliant, part of my job rather than the company procedures, was written into a 27-page document. This allowed my successor and I face-to-face time to go through everything and allowed us time to do introductions wherever possible and agree/explain the current boundaries of our working relationship. It will now be up to him to build the relationships that will allow him to operate efficiently.

For the board members, it will be similar they have inductions at Ibis House with the executive staff so that they understand ongoing work there; there is legal trustee training so that they understand their responsibilities with regards to the APM, as a charity; and they will have the luxury of a buddy/mentor an existing board member. With regards to those prior board members who stood for election and had important relationships across the board we will look to transfer where possible those responsibilities, and where it is not possible, look to retain that members engagement. In this manner, we look to evolve whilst maintaining the continuity necessary at this point for the APM.

This morning, however, I sadly found out that there is one key board member who we will not be able to transfer such key knowledge and history from. One, who for me, made the difference by giving a younger member the chance to experience a more strategic role. This foresight and thoughtfulness was characteristic of him.

Mike Nichols was such a talented project professional who understood people and, as chairman of the board, has been instrumental in developing the APM to what it is today and putting it through its journey to chartership. As always, when a project transitions its now up to us, the APM community, to ensure that continuity.


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