Dear Aunty B,
One of my directors is giving me the absolute shits. He’s recently retired after a long, long career and he’s clearly struggling to fill his days.
As a result, he’s taken to hanging around the office and holding court with me and my staff, dispensing a steady stream of war stories and what he thinks are pearls of wisdom. My chairman thinks it’s great, as he’s got someone to go to lunch with and someone to back up all his points.
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Problem is, his experience is in a totally different industry and his advice – which he thinks should be followed to the letter – is not nearly as worthy as he thinks.
There have been several times in the last month when I have wanted to suggest he goes and takes a running jump, but the bloke is on my board. Is there a delicate way to do it?
My favourite saying about corporate governance is a simple one: Directors should have noses in, fingers out.
In other words, they have the right to question and investigate, but not the right to interfere in what management is doing on a day-to-day basis.
To deal with your director, the first thing to do is to enlist the help of your chairman. Tell him what’s happening and ask him to set some boundaries between the director and the management team. Get him to explain that the odd chat or lunch might be OK (provided the CEO has approved) but anything more isn’t on.
A good way to help your chairman soften the blow would be offer to pay for the director to do an appropriate course at the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Who knows, maybe he’ll pick up some skills that will land him another board seat and he can find someone else to annoy.
Your Aunty B
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