What's Your Problem?

We've lost confidence in our other director...

by Jeremy Bullmore
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Q: I am a common director in a number of companies with a business partner. Two years ago, we started a new business and recruited a third director for his hands-on skills. The business has grown steadily, but could expand far more rapidly. The third director does not have our drive and possibly the ability we possess to expand the business. Ideally, he'd step down from being MD and still operate within the business. However, it's highly likely he'd resign and leave. We can't really do without him at this stage. What should we do to progress?

A: I assume you've had a conversation or two with this third director. I hope you haven't just kept your dissatisfaction to yourselves in the hope that he'd suddenly acquire the dynamism you'd optimistically hired him for.

On the assumption that you've made your unhappiness clear, and that he hasn't responded, it seems to me you have two clear choices, neither of which is to stand him down as MD while hoping he'll stay on. Even if, astonishingly, he accepted this public humiliation and didn't quit, he'd certainly be terribly demotivated. If he lacks drive now, what would he be like then? I can't help feeling that anyone who would accept such a deal is never going to be the person you want.

First, are you absolutely sure you can't do without him at this stage? Please examine that belief very rigorously. It sounds to me dangerously like an excuse for fudge.

Second, if you really can't do without him, you've simply got to persevere - at least, for the time being. One of you will probably have to move in on him a bit and keep chivvying. Don't forget that praise - when earned - can be at least as motivating as the constant niggle.

But you've clearly lost so much confidence in this man that it may be irrecoverable. In which case, stop procrastinating, accept that you made a mistake - and start all over again.

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