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
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
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
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
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
You can if you really want make a no-bread sandwich - you can fool yourself, as in the picture above that two slices of cucumber can make a sandwich or cheat with an approximation like rice paper wraps - but then you end up with a spring roll. They can be great but they are not sandwiches are they?As we covered in last week’s article the deeper nature of creativity is mysterious, mankind’s God-like ability to create what did not exist before is a truly wondrous thing. But once you have recovered from all that numinosity and got it home
Extract from Chapter 1 of Realpolitik “Eight Essential Aspects Of Small Company Boards”Essence 1 – The Top Priority Is Growth And A Good Board Helps You To GrowStarting up is an act of creation that needs nourishing, it needs nurturing, it needs growth and feeding without which it will die. Regardless of which economic sector you are in, which country you are in, it all starts the same way. You have an idea. An idea about a product or service. An idea about a gap in the vast panoply of provisions already available. Naturally there are very few gaps in mature economies.
There is one mistake that is so common that it is near ubiquitous amongst the inexperienced first-time Founder when it comes to their company’s Board. Over the past six years I have podcasted with getting on for 150 founders and over the past two and a half years, in the course of writing "The Realpolitik Of The Unlisted Company Board" interviewed over eighty SmallCo Board members - most of whom were founders. So I’m in no doubt about the mistake. Not just that but the dynamics that lead to it. It is this - first-time founders do not take