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So far The Unlisted Board has created 33 blog entries.

You Never Buy “A Fruit” So Never Hire “A NED”

By |2021-07-23T11:59:05+01:00October 15th, 2020|NEDs, Longer Articles, Realpolitik Extracts|

You never buy "a fruit" so never hire "a NED". The Engine of Growth Board will be designed to complement the skill set of the executive team, to fill in gaps. This can be a challenge in itself if you have a super-controlling VC who sees the Board as a mere vehicle for them to maximise their control and not actually to improve the Company. But that's a separate topic for another day - the simple summary being that VCs don't just come "with money" but as "a package" and you need to be savvy enough to compare packages, or

The IPO-Ready Board: When Two Tribes Go To War

By |2021-07-23T11:59:15+01:00October 9th, 2020|The Board - Theory and Practice, Longer Articles, Realpolitik Extracts|

The cultural transformation of the Board from an Unlisted Board to a Listable Board is one of the more painful phase shifts a successful founder has to undergo. The successful founder will have hand-crafted a Board that, yes, does the Corporate Control Thing, but one which is rooted in the vital Corporate Creativity mentality. As we saw Prometheus and the Muses are essential to inspire and to create something that never existed before - an extraordinary metaphysical achievement possible only for Gods and Man. This commercial value-add-centric Board vibe will, in all likelihood, suffer the fate of  a Canadian seal

The Sole-Trader, Indie, Micro-Business Doesn’t Need A Board. But What Does It Need?

By |2021-07-23T11:59:28+01:00October 2nd, 2020|The Board - Theory and Practice, Short Articles|

Of the millions of small businesses in the UK the vast majority are not “businesses” per se but “company-wrappers” for individuals, sole-traders - be it butchers, bakers, candle-stick-makers or modern “consultants” - where in effect over a couple of decades MegaCos have got round the complex employment benefits and protection rights by reducing staff and then hiring countless “consultants” who don’t benefit from the many hard-won rights like sick-pay, holiday-pay and so forth. These “companies” are of course legal companies - the MegaCos won’t deal with people amongst other things due to this desire to keep away from employment

How The First English Companies Were Governed

By |2021-09-28T09:53:43+01:00September 24th, 2020|Company Governance History, Longer Articles, Realpolitik Extracts|

How were the first English Companies governed? Actually far better than today's companies are but that is a much longer story. Who invented the two-tier Board? I bet you can guess but everyone I have ever asked has got it wrong. Let's go back to 16thC England and have a look. [Excerpt from Realipolitik, numerous footnotes sadly extracted as they don't work well on a blog (too much paging up and down)] "A thousand years ago the Italian merchant states of Florence, Venice, Genoa et al were far ahead in business. They utilised Commenda and Societas, partnership structures that date

A Short Overview of Business and Regulation 4,000 Years Ago

By |2021-07-23T12:00:14+01:00September 17th, 2020|Company Governance History, Regulation Then and Now, Short Articles, Realpolitik Extracts|

The origins of business as we know it are deep as is the regulation that always surrounded business (though in successful societies never smothered it as it is beginning to do today). Two short extracts from Realpolitik, where the topic is covered in more depth on the ancient history of business and the jelly mould - regulation (today internal = Board, external = zillion regulators) - that shapes it."The earliest surviving written records of any sort are cuneiform tablets from Mesopotamia ~3200BC by which time civilisations had demonstrably existed in that area for some two thousand years. Tablets were predominantly

What Founders Need To Know About Boards Well Before They Have One

By |2021-07-23T12:00:24+01:00September 10th, 2020|The Board - Theory and Practice, Longer Articles|

One of the most interesting things about speaking, as of now, to over 100 unlisted Board folk is how important ones initial frame of mind is to so many things that one meets on the journey of growth from idea to substantive company. As we discussed in “Prometheus the Muses and the Startup” your whole enterprise grows from a single creative seed which arises in your mind and which must be nurtured. Separately a thirty-year VC emphasised to me that it is what the founder thought long before they decided to raise capital that makes all the difference. Indeed one can

Startup and ScaleUp Boards Are CEO-centric Not Chairman-centric

By |2021-07-23T12:00:42+01:00September 4th, 2020|The Board - Theory and Practice, The CEO/Founder, The Chairman, Short Articles, Realpolitik Extracts|

Extract from Chapter 1 of Realpolitik “Eight Essential Aspects Of Small Company Boards” Essence 6 – SmallCo Boards Are CEO-centric Not Chairman-centric  A further substantive difference between SmallCo and BigCo Boards is that SmallCos are founder/CEO-centric whereas BigCo Boards are Chairman-centric. BigCos easily survive changes of CEO, however, until they have quite some momentum, SmallCos do not readily survive the departure of the founder. Power in BigCo ultimately rests with the Chairman, whereas in a SmallCo, for quite some time it is with the founder. This is for two reasons. Firstly, on day one, the NewCo founder has 100% control – it is

Vital To Know For Founders – Your Board Is What You Make It – For Better Or For Worse

By |2021-07-23T12:00:48+01:00August 27th, 2020|The Board - Theory and Practice, Longer Articles, Realpolitik Extracts|

There are two vital lessons to take-away from by now conversation with 100 entrepreneurs, Chairman, NEDs and Capital Providers about their experience of Boards. (1) the Board can be an Engine of Growth and (2) you the founder either get what you design or what someone else designs for you - your choice! Extract from Chapter 1 of Realpolitik “Eight Essential Aspects Of Small Company Boards” Essence 5 – Your Board Is What You Make It - For Better Or For Worse  Will you consciously create your Board or will it just happen as a result of happenstance and ad hoc pressures from capital providers? What

Children Are Not Small Adults – The SmallCo Board Is Not A Small BigCo Board

By |2021-07-23T12:00:57+01:00August 21st, 2020|The Board - Theory and Practice, Short Articles, Realpolitik Extracts|

Extract from Chapter 1 of Realpolitik “Eight Essential Aspects Of Small Company Boards” Essence 2 – The SmallCo Board Is Not A Small BigCo Board That Companies change over time is so apparent that it barely merits mentioning. However, its corollary – that the Board needs actively managing – can all too often be neglected. At inception when the Muse drops an idea into your mind you are the show of course. For substantive ideas you will need to build a team below you and a Board around you to help you nurture your tiny infant and grow it into a safe strong adult. SmallCo and BigCo

Boards As Cauldrons Of Emotion: Power! Betrayal! Plotting! Deceit!

By |2021-07-23T12:01:03+01:00August 14th, 2020|The Board - Theory and Practice, Short Articles, Realpolitik Extracts|

Extract from Chapter 1 of Realpolitik “Eight Essential Aspects Of Small Company Boards” Essence 7 – Cauldrons Of Emotion: Power! Betrayal! Plotting! Deceit! “On one Board a lifelong friend stabbed me in the back.” Boards are comprised of people not robots. This needs emphasising as Board-inexperienced folk can have far too much of a “bloodless” legal/regulatory concept of the Board. If the reality – that one side of the Board coin is “legals” and the other “realpolitik” – was accurately reflected then half the books and courses on the market would be about “emotions” not “logic”. Which they manifestly are not.Given that the Board

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