Authoritative Damnation #63: Board of Directors

Do we even need to say more? The Board of Directors can be your best friend, or your worst enemy. But either way, they’ll probably be your ongoing nightmare.

Their dictates drive your daily duties even more than the wacky whims of the CEO, because their dictates drive the CEO’s and CFO’s dictates, who in turn drive your daily duties. Do you really think the cost savings chant stems from the CFO alone? A good CFO realizes there are 2 big ways to make more money. Increase revenues — which can come from sales or investments — or decrease costs. An even better CFO will realize that you only have to do so much to appease Wall Street and will want to do whatever will increase revenues in the future, because that will increase the stock value, and fatten his nest egg when he sells out and retires (from the company). But if the board chants “savings, savings, savings“, his hands are tied and he will have to do his best country boy jig.

But it doesn’t necessarily end their. We all know that if this was the extent of the damnation caused by the directors, it would barely qualify as a damnation at all. Where do you think the outsourcing craze (and craze is the proper word) came from? The lease versus buy at any cost (because ownership is maintenance and maintenance is supposedly bad) craze. The move to contingent labour (because, apparently, benefits are bad too) craze. Just about any non-sensical craze you can think of usually originates from the wacky whims of a helicopter board member.

But it doesn’t end there. The board is also responsible for forced entry into markets. Forced entry into new product categories. Forced (use-my-buddy-Bill’s-business-or-else) supplier selection. And so on.

Director damnation is it’s own kind of damnation and sweep it under the table we shall not! Especially when this is one of the few damnations on our list that makes the eighth circle!