Knowing when enough is enough: Sage advice for non-executives.

advice for non-executives

“Stop having hard conversations with people who don’t want change.” (Anthony Hopkins).

Applying the essence of Anthony Hopkins’ powerful words to the context of non-executive directors advising companies that disregard their guidance, we can frame a perspective that underscores the importance of discernment, self-respect, and the judicious investment of one’s energy and expertise.

As a non-executive director, your role is to provide sage advice, oversight, and to contribute to strategic decisions. However, when you find yourself aligned with a company that persistently disregards your guidance, it may be time to reflect on where you are investing your professional energy and expertise.

Letting go of associations with companies that are not ready to embrace your advice is profoundly challenging, yet it marks a crucial step in safeguarding your professional integrity and personal well-being. Cease exerting your efforts in trying to change or convince these entities. Your instinct might be to try harder, to make them see the value you bring, but this often comes at the expense of your own peace and satisfaction.

Recognise that your commitment and insights are valuable assets that should be directed towards environments where they are appreciated and can effect real change. It’s not about altering your core values or diminishing your capabilities; it’s about realising that not every company is ready to journey with you towards mutual growth and success.

If your presence and advice are undervalued or ignored, continuing to invest your time and energy into such a relationship does not serve your professional goals or personal ethos. The truth is, not every company deserves your time or your insights. This realisation helps highlight the significance of engaging with organisations that share your level of commitment and enthusiasm for excellence.

There are countless businesses out there that can benefit significantly from what you have to offer. When you decide to disengage from those that do not value your contribution, you open doors to opportunities where your advice and experience are not just heard but acted upon.

Your professional time and energy are limited resources, and how you allocate them defines the trajectory of your career and the fulfilment you derive from it. Prioritise relationships with companies and individuals that respect your contributions, align with your values, and reciprocate your commitment to growth and excellence.

In essence, protect your professional energy with the same zeal as your personal well-being. Create a career path that feels like a sanctuary, populated with collaborations that are not just compatible, but also complementary and mutually enriching. You are not obliged to fix every company’s strategy or to convince them of the value you bring. Your responsibility is to yourself and to those who truly value and align with your vision and expertise.

Using the same metaphor I have used many times, “If you don’t like where you are (or who you are advising), move. You are not a tree!”


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