Excellent governance, whether of a corporate or charitable enterprise, leads to balanced and healthy long-term development. The years of crisis since 2008 have picked off many businesses which did not take heed of this simple fact. But establishing and maintaining an appropriate corporate governance structure and culture requires a high level of skills, understanding and awareness at board level. The INSEAD International Directors Programme was launched in 2011 as part of the INSEAD Corporate Governance Initiative (ICGI) to address precisely this.
The programme has been a great success for INSEAD and supports the theme of “business as a force for good”. By the end of 2015, 464 people had completed the course, of whom 252 participants from 44 countries had gone on to achieve IDP-C status as INSEAD Certified Directors. Led by Professors Ludo Van der Heyden and Tim Rowley (in Fontainebleau) and Jean-François Manzoni (in Singapore), the course boasts outstanding faculty and runs over approximately six months, including preparation time and three residential modules of three days each.
Participants have described the IDP course as “a defining experience”, “truly international”, “almost a required programme”, “a unique educational experience” and “surpassing all my expectations”. Going beyond the technical skills required of all company directors today, the course pushes participants to reflect on the interpersonal and strategic skills that their roles demand. It introduces concepts and tools to clarify the very different roles of directors and executives, to understand how diversity and cultural differences can affect board processes and to ensure that a board operates as efficiently and effectively as possible. The emphasis is on a personal journey of discovery and increasing proficiency in board matters.
The International Directors’ Programme Corporate Governance Network (IDPN) was formed, under the leadership of Bill Jones (a graduate of the first IDP cohort, and holder of the INSEAD Certificate in Corporate Governance, making him an IDP-C), to maintain and develop the strong bonds that arise among course participants and to offer ongoing contact, advice and learning in a global context. Many participants view the contacts made during the course, together with this international network, as some of the most valuable aspects of their involvement with IDP.
On being accepted as an IAA Global Club in October 2014, the remit of IDPN widened to include Associate Membership, which embraces all those INSEAD Alumni who have an interest in corporate governance and a desire to contribute to effective and efficient board-level processes. Full membership remains the preserve of those with the IDP-C qualification. The mission of IPDN is “To promote excellent corporate governance through education, effectiveness and efficiency in the boardroom”.
IDPN held its first General Meeting in October 2015 and welcomes any alumni who have a desire to understand and improve board-level governance in their organisations. While one focus of the International Directors Programme is on large, multinational businesses, it has been attended by many who are involved in more entrepreneurial activities, as founders, consultants, business angels or owners. The benefits of a thoughtful approach to governance, even at the earliest stages of a business venture, cannot be over-stated. By their nature, start-ups and small businesses operate in a volatile environment and periods of travail or crisis are not the times to re-think governance practices! Putting the tools and processes of leading-edge governance in place early can greatly enhance the chances of success for businesses of all sizes. One of the many benefits available to IDPN members includes access in a friendly, confidential and informal way to a wide range of international contacts with extensive board experience.
A nine-person IDPN Committee, currently chaired by Christopher de Mattos (MBA 87J, IDP1, and also IDP-C), facilitates the activities of IDPN with the enthusiastic support of members from around the World, ICGI staff and faculty. In addition to bi-annual Directors Forums (the next one will take place in Singapore on 11 March 2016), IDPN supports informal dinners, networking and professional development events. The “Advocate & Connect” initiative also keeps those members with the IDP-C qualification informed of board-level opportunities.
You can learn more about the International Directors’ Programme and IDPN on the ICGI website. You can also join IDPN by completing the application form available on the site. As long as you pay subscriptions to an Alumni Association, there will be no extra cost to you and you will have access to a growing, diverse and talented group of international directors.
If you have any comments or queries for the IDPN Committee, please email IDP.Network@insead.edu.