What Makes an Effective Chairman of the Board?

I was chatting recently with Dermot Hill of Intramezzo who posed this question. Given my experience as a Chairman and my love of this role, it set me thinking. Note that I’m going to use the word “Chairman” in a non-gender specific context in this article.

Companies appoint a Chairman for a variety of reasons. If they are about to float, or are seeking external investment, they may pick someone who is acceptable to the “money men” and who has contacts in that arena rather than going for someone who can add real value to the companies proposition. But I suspect Continue reading

About Philip

image of Philip de Lisle seated

“My name is Philip de Lisle and I’m a professional mentor and facilitator to and for company directors and senior management.”

No, I’m not in therapy, but I’ve deliberately chosen to make this page more “human” rather than adopt the corporate style that is used for the rest of this website. Hence the use of the first person everywhere on this page.

A former serial entrepreneur, I have founded, built and directed many companies over the last 25 years. Having founded over 11 companies worldwide, I’ve got a proven track record of identifying new markets, focusing on potential problems and then taking or initiating the appropriate action to create a suitable solution. I’ve also made plenty of mistakes! These companies have been as diverse as the motor trade, advertising and PR, software development/IT and telecoms. Through them I have gained a breadth of experience of business situations and solutions that has won many commissions of work for Blueprint for Exit (a division of my current company Enhancing Clarity Ltd) that helps and enables company owners to exit their business profitably.

It was this experience which drew me into the world of mentoring CEOs and board level directors professionally, as more and more people started to ask me to share my pretty extensive knowledge of company management (i.e. compliance, risk management etc.), strategy, planning, and my network to help them improve their performance and that of their companies. I didn’t seek this role – it sought me; but I found it increasingly attractive due to the number of people that asked for my help in creating strategies to enable their businesses to improve and grow. It’s fun work that I love – and I get paid for it which is a major plus! Recently a number of clients have used the same phrase to describe my impact on them and their businesses – I give them “head space” to think about what they want for themselves and their company, helping them to understand people (themselves, staff/colleagues and clients), their motivation and their fears.

As part of my one-on-one work, I help people to discover their unique gift – we all have one – using a “tool” called Core Process. The effect of this on people’s lives is dramatic and it is a real privilege to be part of that discovery. I urge you to think about your special gift and to understand it as it will make a huge difference to you. For what it’s worth, my Core Process is “Mapping Beauty” which means everything to me (see the bit below about thinking).

I’ve been non-executive Chair of several companies, and the former Chair of a small charity working with children, all of which has provided me with the experience and acumen to work with diverse opinions, cultures and focus that comes with a Board of Directors.

I’ve been published on a number of occasions in the IoD Herts magazine and contributed the chapter on Mentoring for Growth in the 9th edition (2007) of the Growing Business Handbook published by Kogan Page. I’ve also delivered leadership programmes and strategy planning workshop, and regularly speak and lecture on how to exit companies and how to implement change so that it succeeds.

Finally I’m an accredited legal expert in IT with Crown Court experience having worked for the defence against the likes of the DTI, SFO and FBI.

So What Drives Me?

I am passionate about building teams and helping people to succeed. I want to inspire people to perform. As a mentor, I believe that my role is to challenge and to help people discover solutions for themselves and not to tell them what to do. For me leadership is about ideas and strategy, and discovering and nurturing other leaders – it is not about command. I hate seeing talent wasted.

I am particularly interested making boards and teams work effectively. To do this I use mentoring and careful listening to understand the “fit” of the individuals in the team, often by way of their Core Process.

One of the things I’ve come to realise is that people are increasingly afraid to think. We glibly use phrases like “thinking outside the box” in planning and strategy meetings without actually trying to do just that. For me, thinking is a skill which has to be practiced. I want to help people rediscover that skill, and if they are receptive, to teach them to think differently so that problems actually become fun and easy to overcome.

In fact I believe that I have the ability and focus to help you and your company identify your path forward into an exciting future. Big words I know, but what a journey …