Aug 132008

Dr. Earl R. Smith II

Is It Worth the Risk?

I am often asked why I am willing to assume the risk involved in serving on a board of directors. Sure, in the good old days such a position was considered cushy – but no longer.

There is a danger in assuming the position of adviser to a senior management team – particularly when the leadership – and the leadership styles of the team members – make it difficult to organize and manage a board effectively.

But the challenge is not insurmountable – and service on a board of directors can have its rewards. I have served as senior adviser to over a dozen CEOs and, throughout all the battles that have arisen over the future of a company – the prerogatives of the management and board of directors – and the appropriate role of the board as representatives of the shareholders, one thing has remained relatively constant – people of good will have been contending towards a common purpose and, for the most part, succeeding.

Are the risks worth it? If you take your role seriously, see to your education and certification and remember that you are charged with protecting and extending shareholder value – sure.

I don’t want to get into spirituality here – but most of the returns are emotional – the dollars are nice but cracking a difficult challenge and seeing the team win is where it is at for me.

© Dr. Earl R. Smith II

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