It’s the annual report time of year and it will easy to find pictures of your company’s Board – arrayed in dark business suits for the investor or customer to appraise. Getting six to 12 people to look like a team can be a challenge for the professional photographer hired for the occasion. It can be a bit of a minefield for him or her. How to deal with the hierarchy (CEO, and the others), how to deal with the height and weight differences, where to put the women – at the back (thereby minimising their contribution) or at the front and risk making them a token? Do you include furniture – the iconic board table or the comfy chair? Do they perch or a table, or knee down? if you don’t have props you have a long single line and that is not good for publication. Here is random selection.
I work for the Notting Hill Housing Trust, where we are governed by a Board that consists of Non-Executive (people who have other jobs but spend a day or two a month governing the organisation) and Executive (the full-time, staff leadership team) members. We too have to conform to the practice of including photographs on our website and in our annual report and accounts. It’s not a bad idea for customers and investors to be able to see who they are buying from or investing in. So here is Notting Hill’s Executive Board photograph.
Taken by professional photographer Richard Townshend , it shows that we don’t all wear jeans at Notting Hill. To an extent we are all dressed up. We don’t all wear suits and ties everyday, but knowing we were going to have our picture taken, we all chose our most “professional” outfits.
Let me introduce the senior team, left to right,
- Paul Phillips (looks after the money),
- Andy Belton (looks after our commercial portfolio),
- Mark Vaughan (looks after our social portfolio),
- me (the boss!)
- Andrew Muir (looks after the organisation),
- John Hughes (builds new homes).
I was quite surprised to see this photograph. We are all around the same height, and of apparently medium build. And with four blue suits (one is nearly grey), five white shirts and three red ties you might wonder why we are all dressed the same. In case you are interested we all have cool colouring, except Andrew who is light and warm. I know this as I work closely with them, not because any of them have had their colouring analysed! We are quite a “blokey” team.
Could this team look just as authoritative but also a little more individual?
- Andrew is wearing grey, albeit a blue-grey, and his shirt is a little muted. He could wear a slightly lighter grey or blue suit if he wanted, and maybe try a more adventurous tie – a pattern, or more orangey, or a narrow vintage tie perhaps.
- John is the “trendiest” on the team and his suit is really a nice shade of blue. He has chosen a strong blue-red for the tie which works really well. But as John suits deeper shades and I think he could have chosen a darker shade of the same blue for his shirt, and worn it without a tie. Or even worn a Liberty print shirt in deep colours (blue and brown for example).
- Mark is wearing a black tie which I find odd as I associate a black tie with going to funerals. Mark could choose a deep tie in a more interesting colour – deep red or purple perhaps. As a younger man I think it would be fine to leave the tie off. I like to see the shirt cuff showing, and this looks good on Mark.
- Andy looks smart in a grey blue suit with a subtle stripe. This is a very traditional, reassuring look and Andy has chosen the right scale of pattern in the suit and tie – fairly bold but not too big. Andy’s cool colouring can stand more contrast and brighter elements and the tie John has on , for example, or any bright colour, would be a bit more interesting.
- Paul has quite light colouring and might reflect this by wearing a lighter colour of tie – light cool yellow, pink or purple for example, silver cuff links and maybe silver framed glasses.
By making a few small changes the team could achieve a more differentiated look, and still appear as professional and capable as they most definitely are.
And me? I am wearing two self-drafted items. My VW-inspired jacket, and my curvy pencil skirt. I am wearing a Hobbs silk blouse that I got in the Shelter shop in Clitheroe, with a pink belt and blue shoes.
In the following photograph we are at our Annual October Awayday at Ashridge with our nine Non-Executive Directors. Here we are dressed in what you might describe as “smart casual” or possibly weekend wear. It looks like a composition in blues and browns.