Cultivating Essential Board Behaviours

"A good, and differently focused leadership course, that broadened the leadership horizon."

Deputy Director

The Great Financial Crash of 2007-2008 brought into sharp focus the fact that neither company law, nor a comprehensive body of governance guidance, had failed to prevent the worst financial crisis in global history. From this sobering insight came the recognition of the need to focus on how directors had actually behaved on boards, and what behaviour was necessary in future for such mistakes not to be repeated.

Cultivating Essential Board Behaviours is a vital face to face training course from our Accountability & Governance series, in this course we will examine what boardroom behaviours are now considered essential as defining characteristics of an effective board, and how they can be developed to help the organisation to achieve sustainable long-term success and stability. The lessons to be learned are applicable to boards, directors and organisations in all sectors.

At the Civil Service College, we tailor our courses to each attendee’s role and organisations, ensuring that each participant gets the most out of the training. Our courses and trainers are continuously updated and evaluated to ensure that we are always delivering the best service possible. 

Key Training Features

Who Can Attend

Learning Outcomes


Key Training Features:

  • Understand the key features of an effective board, as well as what an effective board does not look like!
  • Gain an appreciation of essential and desirable board behaviours
  • Analyse the behaviours expected of the key roles in the boardroom
  • Consider various board dilemmas, and how they can be resolved
  • Develop an ability to spot (potential) red flags concerning board behaviour 

Who Can Attend:

All those in board roles needing to understand how they can become more effective directors. Senior management interacting with boards and their directors. Company secretaries and other governance professionals are responsible for board support. Managers periodically responsible for appearing before and presenting to, boards. 

Learning Outcomes:

Intellectually, participants will understand how this latest body of work fits into the history of governance practice. Philosophically, they will understand why Sir David Walker, when Chair of the Barclays Board, said that ‘the hard stuff is the soft stuff’. Practically, they will appreciate how the ‘soft stuff’, the skills learned and practiced behaviours, underpin the effectiveness of a board – and, as a consequence, develop a greater understanding of board teamwork and dynamics, and what further work is needed to ensure ongoing organisational resilience.







10:00 - 13:00


Available to be delivered In-House. Contact us for a quotation.


Face to face or virtual

In-House Option

This course is available In-House and can be tailored to meet your individual training requirements.


Lead Trainer

Seamus Gillen

Seamus Gillen

Seamus Gillen started his career in local government, before moving to Whitehall. His successful Whitehall career culminated in him becoming the Private Secretary to John Prescott MP, Deputy Prime Minister.

Read Bio
Seamus Gillen

Seamus Gillen

Seamus started his career in local government, before moving to Whitehall as a civil servant, becoming Private Secretary to John Gummer MP, Secretary of State for the Environment, and then Private Secretary to John Prescott MP, Deputy Prime Minister. 

He moved into industry, as the Group Company Secretary and Director of Regulation at Anglian Water (later AWG) plc, and then as Head of Public Policy and Regulation at O2 plc (now part of the Telefonica Group). 

He became Policy Director at the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (ICSA), where he authored a number of influential publications, including ICSA’s guidance on 'Boardroom Behaviours', and the UK Financial Reporting Council's ‘Guidance on Boardroom Effectiveness’, He also created ICSA’s successful annual Awards dinner.  He was responsible for the production of ICSA’s technical output, including its best practice Guidance Notes on boards and directors. 

Seamus runs his own governance advisory business – Value Alpha Limited – working with boards and directors around the world.  His particular focus is on board and director effectiveness.  He runs a Leadership Development Programme for company secretaries, and a fortnightly LinkedIn discussion group on governance, called Building Better Boards.

Seamus writes and speaks extensively on governance issues. He holds a Degree in Business Studies, and is an MBA and an ICSA Fellow. 

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Jan - Dec 2024

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