Quiet Swoopers: The Subtle Power of Non-Execs in Business Renovation

The difference between consultant and non-executive director

From the Boardroom to the Circus Tent: Choosing the Non-Executive Life

Being a non-executive director can sometimes feel like joining an exclusive club – a gathering of the corporate elite, sipping on aged whisky and debating the existential concerns of the business world. But, just as not every Joe can don the top hat and tails of the Monopoly Man, not every seasoned executive is cut out to be a non-executive.

Let’s not beat around the bush. Some are simply more suited to roles akin to that of an interim manager or a consultant. Why? Because the NED role requires a certain restraint, a delicate touch. A consultant can swoop in, tear apart a business model, and redesign it within the week – a sort of corporate superhero with a penchant for PowerPoint. An interim manager can take the reins temporarily, steering the ship straight through the storm before handing it back and riding off into the sunset, often leaving a trail of grateful yet slightly bewildered staff in their wake. But a NED? They need to be the steady hand guiding from the sidelines, like an old, wise owl… just with less hooting.

However, it’s not to say that our highly experienced operators don’t have a place in the business circus. Picture this: the consultant as the trapeze artist, always reaching for the next big challenge, making the audience gasp in awe. The interim manager, meanwhile, might be our skilled juggler, keeping all the balls in the air and impressing the crowd. And our would-be non-executives? Well, they can occasionally be found lurking in the shadows, trying to tame a lion with a spreadsheet.

For all the glamour and prestige surrounding the non-executive director role, it’s essential to remember that it’s not all cocktails and caviar. It’s a position of responsibility, oversight, and often, quite a bit of biting your tongue. So, to those budding executives pondering whether to dive into the world of non-executivity, remember this: it might just be more fun (and a tad less hazardous) to juggle those corporate balls than to watch from the sidelines, especially if you’ve got a history of dropping a few.

The business circus is vast, varied, and filled with roles for all types. But before taking the esteemed seat of a non-executive director, it’s worth asking: are you ready for the spotlight, or would you rather steal the show?

After all, it’s all fun and games until someone misreads the balance sheet.


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