What is the point or nonsense of supervisors? Do entrepreneurs lose freedom when they come on board? That's what the fourth episode of NOM Talks, the podcast on topics facing entrepreneurs, is about. From agility to innovation, from funding to employees. Topics covering all phases of entrepreneurship.
Divided opinions are not in this episode. A "Council of," in whatever form - there are many - is a complement to businesses. What does unfold is a conversation about how to do that as well as possible. A conversation between podcast host Wim A,B., sidekick Rob Drees and guests Robert Reekers(ConnectoRR) and Weite Oldenziel(Ofichem Group) about different perspectives, from the chair of both the entrepreneur and the regulator. Entrepreneur Oldenziel, whose company produces drug ingredients, has had its own Advisory Board for years. Reekers sits on three boards and advises both entrepreneurs and supervisors.
''As an entrepreneur, you have quite complex issues. Sometimes almost to the point of headaches'', Oldenziel knows from his own experience. Issues you can't always solve on your own. It has come up before in previous episodes: enlist help. Create a sounding board with whom you can spar. Bring the world from the outside in, Reekers calls it.
Who do you put on your "Council of?
Are they only gray men in suits, those supervisors? With tons of experience and the necessary on their list? A fair question from sidekick Drees, because there is still regularly a regime of experience. Without it you are of no value to organizations. No, says Reekers. ,,Instead, I see entrepreneurs looking for someone who is good at a particular piece. Choose backgrounds that fit what you want to achieve.''
Either way, regardless of composition, people want to contribute. Adding value. ''People take their roles extremely seriously. Both the person setting up a board and the person sitting on it,'' Reekers says. If you don't have that intrinsic motivation, it's better not to become a supervisor.
Diversity is most successful
What you also need intrinsic motivation for is the active commitment to diversity in business. Every single day. Whether it is the board, the MT or a supervisory body: women are still severely underrepresented in it. Not to mention other (marginalized) groups. While diversity actually contributes to better business results, research shows time and again.
Not too long ago, NOM connected with Fundright. A venture capital movement committed to more diversity and inclusion in the startup world. Some of the white paper published about it:
'Look at the way questions are asked, the way the system is set up. Typically, for example, women are asked about their past, while men are allowed to talk about the future of their business. Exaggerated: Women, people with a different culture, people with disabilities, they often have to defend themselves. They have to talk about the risks, while white men are allowed on the attack, can talk about the bright future their company has. That falters.
In this white paper you will learn:
- That diversity and inclusion further advance businesses
- How difficult it can be to set aside your own prejudices
- What steps you need to take to make work toward greater diversity
Please note that this whitepaper is only available in Dutch at the moment. We are in the process of translating this whitepaper.
Crazy huh, that despite proven more positive contribution to the company, this still occurs? Not just at startups, that is. As Reekers asks in this podcast - for completeness: featuring only middle-aged white men - the question every entrepreneur and supervisor should ask themselves: Does a supervisory board have enough diverse antennae? ''Diversity is very important. So that you pick up on everything that matters.'' That applies to all levels of your company. Because you are only in your own shoes.
Entrepreneurs are 'stubborn knuckleheads'
Those who venture onto an oversight or advisory board should not fear criticism. ''The average entrepreneur is a bit of a cocky git, who by definition thinks he knows it,'' Oldenziel said. ''Making yourself vulnerable and displaying all your souls in front of a group of wise men demands something of you.''
You even hope for criticism. Otherwise, you shouldn't do it, both men say in this episode. Oldenziel: ,,There are plenty of entrepreneurs who wake up and think: the world has moved on and we just didn't keep up enough. What now? Can we still fix the roof? But fixing the roof when the sun is shining is easier than when it's raining.''
Are you thinking about having your own "Board of" for your company? Or is a supervisory role at a company or institution something for you? Then listen to the fourth episode of NOM Talks, a podcast packed with tips and information about being a supervisor.
NOM Talks Episode 5
In the fifth episode of NOM Talks, Rutger van Zuidam (Founder Odyssey.org) and Edward van der Meer (Director Triade | Campus Groningen) are guests. They will discuss the topic 'The economy of the Northern Netherlands in 2030'. The fifth episode of NOM Talks can be listened to from June 25 via the NOM website, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Anchor, Pocket Casts, Breaker and Radio Public.