Singing like a canary: The value of the non-executive director

At one time, when coal miners needed to test the quality of air deep underground, they employed canaries, who were more susceptible to the presence of toxic gases than humans. When a canary stopped singing, it was a sure sign of danger ahead. That was all well and good in coal mining [unless of course […]

If you can see a difference you can see the difference!

“Denial,” said Mark Twain, “ain’t just a river in Egypt.” Mark Twain wasn’t talking specifically about start-up companies, or companies in general, but his words ring true, nevertheless. Many companies think they can get along quite nicely without the need for outside directors. Why bring ’em in when we can make all the right decisions […]

What have non-executive directors ever done for us?

Let’s be honest, who needs Non-Execs? All right, they might bring a clear-eyed detachment to some of the more difficult decisions you’ll have to make, because they’re seeing the issues with a fresh and new perspective. But if I want clear-eyed, new perspectives I can go to an optician’s. See? And please don’t come out […]

Non-Executive Directors- languishing in recruiters’ purgatory!

There was a director called Joe Who wanted his business to grow. Someone said, ‘N.E.Ds Used to cost us big fees But it ain’t necessarily so!’ There is still a place for headhunters – recruiters – to help fill executive positions, but for non-executive directorships, there are alternative ways for companies to make the right […]

VirtualNonExecs.com – It’s about time!

Imagine your television breaks down. Or your combi-boiler? Or your computer? Where do you look for someone to fix things? Well, there are several places to go – foremost of which are a plethora of “all things to all men” directory sites like the (now online version of…) Yellow Pages. Remember that big yellow book? […]

The inexorable rise of the Digital Non-Executive Director

The Game’s Afoot! Oscar Wilde once said, “It is a very sad thing that nowadays there is so little useless information.” He was, of course, speaking with his usual irony, but in this data-rich age his words have never rung truer. Every contact your company makes with the consumer, even on the most minuscule level, […]

“Whatifitis” – Nasty disease affecting entrepreneurs!

Anyone Entrepreneurs Suffering From Whatifitis? Companies often cast a suspicious eye on the idea of bringing onto the board non-executive directors. This fear and wariness develops because of exposure to an insidious and debilitating disorder: Ignorance. OK, it seems somewhat ironic, accusing an entrepreneur of fear. Someone with the vision and the courage [two essential […]

Money for nothin’ and your (drinks) for free. No longer.

The days of free lunches, sleepy afternoons in a comfortable board room chair and money for nothin are long gone! Taking a role as a non-executive director isn;t a breeze and for those who think it’s a pocket money job are mistaken; it brings with it huge responsibilities. You’ve been brought onto the board to […]

Why accountants could be your best bet finding your first non-executive role

Accountants, love um or hate um are “plugged in”. What do I mean by “plugged in”? Well, I don’t mean they’re attached to a power socket! Accountants are often the first port of call for most entrepreneurs – tax headache, audit requirement, help recruiting a finance director into their business – the list goes on. […]

Innovation Versus Disruption. More Than One Way To Kill A Fly!

There’s a lot of chatter these days about disrupting practices in business. Someone comes along with a new idea that changes the way we look at things – new products or services that challenge established ones and cause some consternation among those companies who have been hitherto happy to coast along [a phrase that could […]