Last week, I set out two scenarios (which, by the way, I have witnessed directly) about people who were clearly out of their depth in the supposedly career enhancing posts they had been appointed to. I will be dissecting these over the next couple of weeks. Our newsletter is sadly not interactive, but we would love to hear your thoughts about these scenarios. Please email them to us, and we will post them to the blog.
In the first scenario of the inexperienced individual appointed to the board, I believe the situation could have been improved if the individual had been better prepared beforehand. He did not have an instinctive understanding of governance, as he often interfered too much in the operational, and so training in governance, or previous exposure to a highly functioning, and effective board would have been beneficial.
Self-awareness is the key to developing potential. This may sound like a cliché but clichés generally have some veracity to them, and constructive feedback from a mentor, or the chair of the board, perhaps supported objectively by psychometric or assessment tools, would be hugely beneficial to this person. As it is, the other members of the board show too much deference to him, probably because he represents the majority stake. The chair of the board is also at fault here, as she does not effectively manage the discussions, but allows the free for all. As a result, the CEO is left somewhat beleaguered and feeling as though he has been used a punchbag.
Circumstances are always a key part of the equation when matching people to roles, and perhaps my main comment here is that such accelerated development better suits a steady state situation, or one where relationships are more collaborative. In this case, the organization was going through considerable turmoil and some of the other board members were newly appointed too. The majority shareholder would have been wiser to have selected to this role, someone who was better able to take a collaborative and collegiate stance, and encourage both positive and negative feedback to be given and received freely. Would it have helped if the individual in question had had more business experience? I do not see that as a prime consideration, but it would certainly have helped if the individual had recognised the gaps in his knowledge, or had been more inclined to ask questions.
My concern for our principal protagonist here is that where the destructive behaviours he displays go unchecked, this can lead to downfall, later in one’s career.
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24 May 2018
©Copyright Janice Caplan 2018