Right Seat Right Table: An Outsider’s Guide to Securing the Ideal Board Role March 2019


By his own admission, Paul Smith likes to do things a little differently and is on a mission to help others fulfil their potential for positive change... especially in the boardroom! He tells Industry Moves about his new book - which he hopes will inspire those outside the boardroom mould - and about his crowdfunding campaign. He also pays tribute to his support team, names his charity partners, and admits he might just have another book or three in him. Stay tuned!

What was the impetus for writing the book?

I wanted to reach more people and help inspire them to see the boardroom as a possibility, especially if they didn’t ‘fit the mould’. The world is changing, fast. Boardrooms need to get ahead, not just keep up. That’s their job. But, like many others, I have long feared that our current boardrooms are stagnated because they don’t have the right people as directors. Plus, books have also been called “business cards on steroids”, so it seemed the logical thing to do with all the successful case studies and practical methodologies we have developed over the years.

Who do you want to read it and why?

Curious and aspiring board directors, but also boardrooms themselves. The book is written for non-traditional board directors (outsiders). This means people from different backgrounds and contemporary skillsets as well as age, gender and cultural diversity. Right Seat Right Table means helping to create the match between an individual’s value and values the needs and culture of the board. It’s supposed to be as inspirational as it is a practical how-to guide.

How long has it taken to complete?

I’ll admit it stayed in my head for a few years. Once I finally got going, it took about a year. The re-writes that my wonderful editor suggested were the hardest and the cover design competition was the most fun.

Is there anyone that deserves special mention for their support?

Right Seat Right Table: An Outsider’s Guide to Securing the Ideal Board Role I was lucky to find the most amazing team to support me, from my editorial team to the designers. They’ve needed to be patient. Next, the Future Directors community gave me the confidence to do this. Imposter Syndrome is real, especially when writing a book. I’m very excited by the early feedback, from experienced directors like Cassandra Kelly to the iconic ‘outsider’ Dr Jane Goodall. My favourites are from those who have used the methods, the Future Directors alumni. Of course, my family for putting up with the mood swings of having an entrepreneur in the house.

What do you hope readers will take away from it?

Confidence…that it’s possible for you to become a non-executive directors and make a bigger difference in the world. It doesn’t matter if that’s a small non-profit or a large corporate, our strategies apply equally.

What did you find out about yourself while writing it?

I’m much better at talking than writing! Also, I have a few more books in me. The next one will extend out the final few chapters of Right Seat Right Table, which cover the challenges of being the newcomer in the boardroom.

Do you have a target for the crowd-funding campaign?

So, I decided to experiment with crowdfunding to raise money for charity and get pre-orders. My minimum target is $5000 which I’m happy to say I passed this week. I’m now aiming for $20,000 and have just over 2 weeks left. The best offer is the $100 special edition as you can get your money back through discounted programs, courses and coaching.

Can you tell us a little about the charities that will benefit from the sales?

All proceeds will go to my charity partners. To match the book, they are all focussed on working with outsiders, with education as the central mechanism for change. My three charities right now are Inspiring Stories (NZ), Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots (Australia) and The Hunger Project (NZ and Australia). I’ve had some buyers from North America and Asia so am looking at charity partners there too.

You can order your copy HERE!

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