Meet Mike Taylor FRSA
I spent the first half of my career in the commercial world, where I founded and ran a management training consultancy, working with large corporate and public sector clients. There, I learned how to develop and run a business with a turnover of over £1million, how to build a team and how to understand and serve clients grappling with complex problems.
Whilst working in this business I began volunteering in a police custody unit, meeting and learning from people whose lives had taken different paths, and I took on a trustee role with a local arts organisation. I met service users and other volunteers and staff bursting with passion and talent. This was the beginning of my interest in how society works and my desire to play my part.
After selling the business into employee ownership, I decided to forge a new career in the voluntary sector and I spent eight years working in senior roles: first as Head of Fundraising and Head of Operations for Meningitis Research Foundation, and then as Chief Operating Officer for the Royal Photographic Society.
Towards the end of this period I took myself back to university and completed an MSc at City, University of London Centre for Charity Effectiveness. This experience far exceeded my expectations. It was incredibly inspiring to learn with and from so many passionate, experienced and successful professionals from across the sector.
This academic underpinning, coupled with my vocational experience, gave me the confidence to set out on a new path as a consultant to charities and other social sector organisations. I continue to invest in my learning and am a member of the Chartered Governance Institute, the Charity Law Association and a Fellow of Royal Society for Arts, Manufacturers & Commerce.
Throughout my career, my interests and activities have centred around the design of organisations – how they understand their mission and how they are organised to achieve this. I’m particularly interested in governance. This starts with an understanding of the charitable objects of the organisation and ensuring its constitution is fit for purpose, includes trustees’ understanding of their role as guardians of the objects, how they practise oversight and control of the organisation, and then gets into the day-to-day operations of the organisation through structure, policy and process.
For me, “day to day governance” is about having efficient and effective policies and processes that achieve two broad goals: firstly, to ensure the organisation is well managed and compliant with legislation and the expectations of all its stakeholders; secondly, to enable the organisation’s staff and volunteers to be the best they can be and help them meet the needs of beneficiaries as easily as possible.
In achieving these goals, my work spans governance and organisational development. I’ve worked on governance reviews, constitutional changes, trustee elections and AGM management, staff restructures, finance processes and reporting, IT improvements, HR policy and processes, and all aspects of regulatory compliance. I’ve also project managed property development and office relocations.
Charities and social enterprises are complex organisations. Unlike commercial organisations they have more than one bottom line and defining success is always a work in progress. At this time, the demands of leadership are ever increasing and can at times seem daunting. But the sector is full of the most passionate and talented people. Our role is to help understand all the challenges and to enable everyone who works in the sector to do what they do best in support of their beneficiaries.