Financial Data
Updated 15 Oct 2019


A catalyst can transform your board

Catalysts excel at getting something going with energy, and are often found starting new businesses, leading a new project or taking an existing project into its next big step. And they’re essential for your business. 


Carl Bates, Entrepreneur, 22 August 2016  Share  0 comments  Print


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In any successful business you need catalysts — high-energy people who are great at getting things going.

Being direct in their manner and highly energised, catalysts bring spark and enthusiasm to a team that can be quite invigorating.

They prefer to tackle issues head-on and charge through any obstacles they encounter, even at the expense of making rash decisions that have not been thought through carefully.

Catalysts who have learnt to maximise their natural energy, understand that their value lies in being able to focus their energy into the conception and development of powerful ideas that they move forward with energy and then hand over, when ready, to be taken to the next stage.

Related: Giving your board a focus

They demonstrate their ability to be exceptionally critical of their own ideas and contribution and to translate good ideas into proven concepts that will achieve the intended result.

In the boardroom

Boardroom -catalyst -director

A catalyst director brings tremendous energy and drive to a board and has the ability to spark others into action with a sense of urgency and passion.

Catalyst directors who have matured their approach drive change in a way that takes into account the people dynamic and realistic timelines to completion.

They also develop a positive method of inciting change and keeping everyone focused on the strategic direction and the vision that underpins it. The catalyst’s high-energy dynamic can mobilise a board that has become tired, complacent or too slow to adapt to changing circumstances.

Their passion for innovation means that they inherently understand the value of the products and services being taken to market and can unlock deeper value by switching off those offerings that no longer contribute value and activating new approaches to maximise the rest.

However, a catalyst director who struggles to maximise their natural energy may push fellow directors and the executive team so hard that the team is left exhausted and demotivated.

The relentless drive to create — and switch ideas mid-stream — can frustrate a chief executive who is focused on translating the catalyst’s ideas into tangible results.

We have witnessed this drive for change showing itself in endless new ideas and to-do lists handed down to the executives, who never have enough time or energy to fulfil the catalyst’s expectations for urgency and action.

Removing distraction and maintaining absolute focus are ways that a catalyst director can build power around their great ideas.

A very clear strategic direction is one way to keep their creative energy on track. They should also consciously focus on being more realistic about what can actually be achieved in the timeframes applicable.

Related: Contributing in the boardroom

Igniting change

The catalyst contribution, whether on your board or in your team, is about this fundamental idea of igniting change.

If you feel your board is ready to shift a gear and needs to open its mind to the future environment in which your company operates, then bringing in a new director of this natural energy could be the change that you require.

Remember, however, that understanding the candidate’s profile is only one part of the appointment process. If your board is continually changing its direction and needs some grounding, keep reading this series to understand the full complement of natural energy dynamics. 

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About the author


Carl Bates, Entrepreneur

Carl Bates is a global entrepreneur, speaker, author, mentor and director. Currently based in South Africa, he is a dynamic entrepreneur from New Zealand who guides small to medium businesses to achieve Extreme Business Success.

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