I completed the Australian Company Directors Course in 2008. For many years I ran the risk of sounding like a paid advertisement… “if you have contemplated doing this course, don’t hesitate, just do it”.

The quality of presenters and the work that has gone into preparing the course material is utterly first rate. I must say I have also learned a great deal from the participants who are all business leaders in a wide range of fields, and it is the interaction with the other participants as well as the lecturer that is the most valuable.

As in any learning, you only get out what you put in. There is a lot of reading material and preparation for every week. The case study material is really strong and gives you a very good grounding for all facets of directorship.

Since completing the course, I was invited twice by AICD to speak to potential participants about the course and what they should expect. I completed the 10 week course which was available and popular at the time. I particularly liked the opportunity to read and reflect on both the content and the learning before diving into the next topic. The 5 day intensive is considered by AICD to be the best option to take – however, it is the most expensive.

Make no mistake, there is a lot of reading. You receive two comprehensive manuals. I read the manuals in full twice prior to starting the course, then read each chapter and undertook the prep work before each weekly session, then read it twice at the end to ensure I prepared well for the assignment and exam. As I paid for the course myself, I wanted to make sure I really knew the material. When you are in a boardroom situation, you must come prepared and you should treat this no differently.

I recently had a look at the more current version of the manuals: the content is of the same high quality and updated.

I liked the weekly sessions as it enabled some contemplation and digestion time for the content, and I would recommend that approach. That said, many others have said to me that the 5 days or the weekend intensive are a really good ways to complete it as well (particularly if you travel frequently). There are now self paced and online versions available.

The main issue I had with the course was the complete lack of a mark from the exam and assignment. A very small percentage of the national graduates are awarded a distinction, however there is no feedback at all. I had hoped AICD would do something about this however I am not aware of a change.

In summary, an outstanding course and I highly recommend it to anyone that is either a director already or contemplating becoming one. I have found it very useful in my role as a business coach, advisor and director.

Interestingly around one third of the participants in the course decided never to become a director due to the current liabilities that exist in those roles. This is an area that needs significant attention in our legal frameworks.

If you prefer to listen instead, please listen to Justin Davies being interviewed by Tom Murrell on Darwinism: Survival of the Fittest in Business

If you are running a small to medium business and think you might benefit from a business coach, please read Do I Need a Business Coach?