What value do they offer? Are they a threat to control? Does the family need to retain a majority in case of a vote?
Why would a family business not want the benefit of an independent director who might bring insight, perspective, varied experiences, and a wide range of contacts that could help propel the business? In the past year, I have delivered seminars in Asia, Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and North America on building high-performance boards in family businesses. In every location, these are some of the excuses I heard from attendees:
- We don’t want any outsiders
- We don’t want to lose control
- We don’t want anybody telling us what to do
- We don’t wash our dirty linen in public
- We don’t want to be accountable to anybody else
- It’s not broken why fix it