November 30, 2022
We are pleased to announce a new Co-Executive leadership model at Positive Money. After nine years of Fran Boait being the sole Executive Director at Positive Money UK, we now have two, with Paul Delaney joining Fran as Co-Executive Director. Paul has been Chief Operating Officer since 2017, and was Acting Director during Fran’s maternity leave in 2021. Fran returned to a team with increased leadership capacity, so we felt it was an ideal time to move to a joint leadership structure. After a successful internal trial, as of August 2022 Fran Boait and Paul Delaney are now Co-Executive Directors.
Positive Money has been on a trajectory of distributed leadership for many years, and made this a part of our organisational culture. This was a big part of our ambition for the interim leadership arrangements – developing the capability and confidence of all members of the team, especially senior leaders. We believe in collaborative leadership and so we are putting more of this into practice by further redistributing power in the organisation, and further diversifying the team too. For us, good leadership is generative: it develops more leaders. The following quote from Mary Parker Follett resonates with us, and rings true: ‘Leadership is not defined by the exercise of power but by the capacity to increase the sense of power among those led.’ The most essential work of the leader is to create more leaders.
As an organisation, we believe in principle that concentrated power is unhealthy. Moving to a Co-Executive Director model is consistent with that view, and more democratic and collaborative models of leadership and decision-making are aligned with our values and strategy. This model is also about building resilience: cognitive load for Executive Directors and CEOs is huge, and decision fatigue and burnout are common. It is better for the mental wellbeing of senior leaders to share Director-level responsibilities, and the burden that comes with leadership.
Our priorities for the organisation remain the same. These are extremely challenging times for progressive movements, with the current economic turmoil, cost of living scandal, and climate breakdown already damaging communities across the world. Fran and Paul are proud to be leading Positive Money at a time when a transformative vision for a fair, democratic and sustainable economy is sorely needed.
Joint leadership models are becoming more common, particularly in the not-for-profit sector. We believe in movement generosity, and we would be happy to share the knowledge we’ve gained through the development process of our new leadership model with other new economy organisations. If you are interested in joint leadership structures, and would like to discuss this, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fran said: ‘Paul has played a fundamental role in building Positive Money UK into the resilient and impactful organisation we are today. He has led the setting up of Positive Money EU and US. I am grateful for his leadership and excited that we are now leading the organisation together as Co-Executive Directors.’
Paul said: ‘Fran is a superb non-profit leader and a driving force behind Positive Money’s success both in the UK and internationally. I’ve learned so much from her over the last five years. I’m really proud to be working alongside Fran as Co-Executive Directors, and excited that Positive Money is playing a pioneering role with new models of leadership.’
Sian Williams (Chair of Positive Money’s board) said: ‘On behalf of Positive Money’s Board, I am delighted that we are modelling our values of collaborative leadership through this move from sole Executive Director to Co-Executive Directors. Fran and Paul have both already contributed so much to Positive Money’s sustained success, and I know that this new phase will give them even more opportunity to grow Positive Money and its impact.’