A Super-Valuable Board Book – “Directors’ Dilemmas” Patrick Dunne (270pp, 2000)

By |2021-08-12T14:07:23+01:00August 19th, 2021|The Board - Theory and Practice, The CEO/Founder, The Chairman, NEDs, Capital Providers, Fixing Broken Boards, Company Governance History, Book Reviews, Longer Articles|

This book is a must-buy second hand guide for any serious Chairmen, CEOs, Founders, NEDs or Investment Directors. The various editions are now out of print but it’s a steal at less than £5 second-hand right now (eg Amazon or AbeBooks). Different editions are variously subtitled “Tips and Techniques for Dealing with Day-to-day Problems” or “Tales from the frontline” both of which are equally descriptive. Patrick Dunne was at the time Group Communications Director at 3i, then Europe's leading venture capital company and wrote three Board books over a decade (interestingly after a gap of over a decade in 2019

New Board Guide – The Complex CEO-Chairman Relationship

By |2021-08-12T09:28:14+01:00August 3rd, 2021|The Board - Theory and Practice, The CEO/Founder, The Chairman, NEDs, Capital Providers, Short Articles|

The Fourth Short Guide to Key Aspects of the Unlisted Board is now out! A good Chairman was appreciated as a real asset by every interviewee that had one. There are plenty of formal definitions of the role of the Chairman. However templates, no matter how worthy, are always cookie-cutter. Size, stage, phase, type of company, sector, personalities, country will mean that for the far-less-systematised unlisted Board no single recipe will be The Answer. The realpolitik of the Boardroom is that it is all ultimately about who has power or in other terms control. Somewhere along the journey from NewCo

The Entrepreneurial Board – Poetry Regardless Of Metre (LLPs, LLCs, Corporations, Ltds, PLCs et al)

By |2021-07-23T11:58:25+01:00November 5th, 2020|The Board - Theory and Practice, Short Articles|

As I noted in a prior blog: “You an have LLCs or Corporations, Listed and Unlisteds, Limited Liabilities and Partnerships, Limited Liability Partnerships. In France a quick Google tells me you can have SARLs, EURLs, SELARLs, SAs, SASs, SNCs. The list goes on and on. Spend too much time looking at it and you start thinking that maybe it's time for the Good Lord to send a new flood and wipe the slate clean so we can start over.” Of course that was a simplification as even in the US laws/rules vary from state to state as to exactly

If You Didn’t Have Board Meetings Then, Apart From Not Being Part Of A Chain Gang, What Two Key Things Would You Miss Out On?

By |2021-07-23T11:58:56+01:00October 22nd, 2020|The Board - Theory and Practice, Longer Articles|

The legal aspects of Boards differ from country to country and in some cases from State to State. There are LLCs and Corporations, Listed and Unlisteds, Limited Liabilities and Partnerships or indeed Limited Liability Partnerships. In France a quick Google tells me you can have SARLs, EURLs, SELARLs, SAs, SASs, SNCs. The list goes on and on. Spend too much time looking at it and you start wondering whether it isn't maybe time for the Good Lord to send a flood and wipe the slate clean again so we can start over. It would certainly provide a different answer to

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

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

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