Don’t Blame Elizabeth Holmes, Marissa Mayer, and Tim Cook. Blame Their Boards. (E. Jay Saunders, Jul 24, 2016)
Theranos is crashing and burning, losing over 90% of its value, and its founder and CEO, Elizabeth Holmes, just got barred from owning or operating a medical laboratory for at least two years. Yahoo! is in the midst of a fire sale, and is desperately trying to sell off its core business. And Apple is down over 25% in market cap value (compared to 21st July 2015), despite having one of the largest cash piles in history and one of the most attractive capital return programs.
I know it’s heresy to lump Apple, the world’s most valuable company by market cap (US$546.26B as of 18th July 2016), with two companies that have no future as standalone entities. However, there is no denying that currently, Apple is significantly underachieving. And the problem facing Apple is the same problem that’s facing Theranos and Yahoo! – i.e. the reluctance of their boards to shake things up at the top, and that’s because all 3 boards are smitten by their CEOs.
And it is not just high profile companies that fall into this abyss. Home grown, citizen groups and charities can suffer from the same fate, losing tons of income and donations by the lack of a long-term plan for their project and the where with all to orchestrate and organize fund raising ventures that keep their supporters invested throughout the year.
While it is fantastic what small groups can raise in their communities, most projects are costly and at best could take 50 odd years to finish all the works planned using yard sales and once a year special events.
This is where those with the professional skills to ferret out the big bucks and good long-term planning come in. They can direct the group to the dollars and know the words to put down on paper to both attract and keep those types of investors interested.
A board of directors made up of well-known, respected community leaders, lawyers, businessmen and a philanthropist or two help immensely in this online world. Credible biographies put trust into an organization when seen online. We must all be aware that these days donations can come from half a world away if those targeted understand and support the group’s digital message.
Unfortunately like the organizations mentioned by Mr. Saunders, small community groups also often get less than value for the dollar by not taking advantage of all the help available. It is all well and good to ‘love’ your leader, even respect him but to do so at the expense of your goals is pure and utter folly. Sometimes you have to spend money to make money and that is not a crime just smart management.
Looking to the future – short and long range, is the only way to survive these days when competing interests are always looking to snag the moneys available from the same stakeholder groups.
We should all take heed and learn the lesson from big corporations that are today starting to suffer from their fear of ‘shaking things up.”