Capital Providers – “Can’t live with them, can’t live without them?”

By |2021-08-12T14:31:40+01:00August 26th, 2021|The CEO/Founder, The Chairman, Capital Providers, Longer Articles, Realpolitik Extracts|

<Extract from Chapter 8 of Realpolitik “Capital Providers”> So there you are, minding your own business (sic) when one day you decide that some more dough would help. At which point, in all likelihood, you’ve addicted yourself to a drug and with the highs come the lows. One shot will not be enough and will leave you wanting ever more.In this context, and back to the days of Timothy Leary and LSD, the “set and setting” makes a huge difference. What your mindset was and is and the circumstances in which you start this part of the journey are key

Never Hire “Just A NED” – Hire One Of These Nine Types Of NED

By |2021-07-30T12:25:53+01:00July 30th, 2021|NEDs, Longer Articles, Realpolitik Extracts|

<Extract from Chapter 7 of Realpolitik “NEDs”> Never hire “just a NED” – hire a certain type of NED that fills a gap for your Company and your Board. We take a look at nine types of NED – which do you have? Which don’t you have that you would like to have? What do you want from your NEDs? ... “Where is the value-add? Intros? Mentoring? Raise capital with you?” “Don’t just put anyone on the Board – people see it as a status symbol.” The most important aspect is to build a balanced team on the Board: “On

The Loneliness Of The Long Distance CEO

By |2021-07-23T11:57:53+01:00July 23rd, 2021|The CEO/Founder, Short Articles, Realpolitik Extracts|

<Extract from Chapter 5 of Realpolitik “The CEO/Founder”> “For a sole founder in particular it can be a very lonely journey” It is a tough gig being a founder. A US stat I was told was that the average founder has failed four times before. This introduces the need for such folks to have their own support mechanism around them outside of any individual companies (which may come and go) to help them pick themselves back up off the floor. As we shall see, NEDs have differing emphases on “supporting” vs “challenging” CEOs at the Board. However in the early

The Uncultured Board

By |2021-07-23T11:57:45+01:00November 19th, 2020|Fixing Broken Boards, Short Articles, Realpolitik Extracts|

[Extract from Chapter 9 of Realpolitik "Fixing Broken Boards] “My hot tip? Mentor the Board – ensure that everyone is on the same page.” [Experienced CEO/entrepreneur] Only in the later stages of growth with an IPO in mind does the whole There Is Only One True Path For Your Board thing start impacting your poetry. Before that you have freedom. Use it while it lasts! Have a clear vision of the type of Board culture you are trying to create. If your fairy Godmother appeared now and offered three wishes for your Board what would they be? What culture do you want? What

The “Fish Rots From The Head Down” Board

By |2021-07-23T11:58:09+01:00November 12th, 2020|Fixing Broken Boards, Longer Articles, Realpolitik Extracts|

[Extract from Chapter 9 of Realpolitik "Fixing Broken Boards] Whatever your Board challenge your Chairman is likely to be the first port of call – after all apart from “it [the Board] is his job” he really should have vastly more experience of Boards than you. As a founder/CEO in a sense you’d like to delegate a lot of the Board functioning to the Chairman in the same way you’d like to delegate Marketing to a CMO. You want to retain involvement in input in both but you would really rather someone more experienced and better at it than you did all the heavy lifting

Business Regulation in 1000AD

By |2021-07-23T11:58:45+01:00October 29th, 2020|Company Governance History, Regulation Then and Now, Short Articles, Realpolitik Extracts|

In previous posts we have looked at how Business Regulation worked 4,000 years ago and how the first English Companies were governed nigh on 500 years ago. This week we land in the middle with a look at how business regulation worked a thousand years ago. Mind you even recent copies of the core text will cost you £198 right now. So maybe a peep will be good enough? Note the simplicity and clarity of both regulation and punishment - something that we have totally lost in the 21stC - as a consequence of which much human activity that

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

How The First English Companies Were Governed

By |2021-07-23T11:59:48+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 all the

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

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