Jump to content

A question for boardmembers


Partner24
 Share

Recommended Posts

This is a topic not related to investments directly, but since I think that a lot Fairfax and Berkshire shareholders share some values that I have, I would like to have your opinion of a situation that I had recently, especially the ones that I've known here for some time.

 

Please keep this confidential. It is important to me.

 

I do care about serving my small community and try to do my best to put my ego out of it (pictures in the newspapers, etc.) and I am implied on some boards and specific projects, sometimes unfortunately a little bit at the expense of my family (that has changed recently since I reduced the amount of work).

 

One of these projects is a community happening that will last 2 days this summer. We'll have a lot of family activities. Everything will be free. It was first my idea to start that and to be open to include other partners in the project and I do some work on specific activities on it as well as serving as an adviser at the board of that project.

 

We had a press conference to announce it, but I had too much work on my desk to be there. But I knew that some others people was there to do that, so it didn't create any problem at all. Fact is, the principal officer of the non for profit organization that handle it did mention the names of every single person that was involved in that project, except mine.  And when I left the board of that no for profit organization several months ago (I'm still active, but not as a director), the principal executive did forgive to say "Thank you" at the AGM for all the time and efforts I gave to my task.

 

I frankly think that I have done a good job as a director and a organizer for the activity that I've talked about. I frankly don't think she didn't mention my name twice because of bad faith. I try to put my ego aside when I do something, but when it happen twice like that, I feel that I don't get any gratitude for all the free time and efforts. It's a little bit annoying, even if frankly I do it primarely for the benefit of my community. I will still do all the tasks that I have to do for this happening and fully.

 

I do not want to complain to anybody in my community about that (and I will not) and that's one of the reasons why I'm talking about that here.

 

I would want to know how would you feel in a situation like that and what would you do.

 

Sincerely,

 

Partner

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Broxburnboy

It sounds like your  problem is with the principal executive. Sometimes (especially in non profits) it is possible for an managerially incompetent to rise to the top of the organization on the strength of a well managed resume and interpersonal

political skill.

Such people are adept at "stealing" the credit for someone else's achievements. Many times, being incompetent, they simply fail to recognize competence in others and being narcissistic, see such accomplishments as their own.

You must be reconciled to being rewarded with self satisfaction for a job well done, which is OK because your motivation was  to serve, not to be recognized. Be happy that you're out of an organization that is poorly led and is no doubt on its way down.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Partner, that is unfortunate. No person is happy to feel overlooked or unrecognized. 

 

However, in situations like this I try to remember Prem's guiding motto and accept the situation without resentment.

"There's no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn't mind who gets the credit"

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Seems Buffett recognized early in his career that people will work for recognition or positive feedback as their primary reward.  I suspect you are no different than anyone else.  I think there is a difference between ego and positive recogntion.  Ego drives you to claim more than your fair share of credit, be it financial or otherwise - Bob Nardelli would be a bad case in point.  

 

In your case I would say it is not your ego operating.... it doesn't hurt having met you, and reading your posts for 4 years either.

 

Finally for your own peace of mind "How important is it?"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'll join the fray....  it looks to me that you have a problem with that woman.  Or rather, she has a problem with you.  More likely even, she has a problem with herself: she's gotta be miserable.

 

 

I am sorry Partner, this can't be fun.  Still, I am sure that others give you just credit and ultimately you know deep inside that you've done good.  Unlike Ucc and others, I haven't met you personally. I still feel like I know you (and a bunch of others on this board) for having spent so many hours "cyber-together"; as I was telling Sanjeev & ericopoly a few weeks back, I think of ya'll as my gang, some extended part of myself.

 

You are a good man, and you will find something positive to do next - with this not-for-profit or another.  Don't let this keep you from donating your time and energy to causes that you believe in.  I'm sure you won't.

 

 

 

Amitiés,

UhuruPeak

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Partner,

i had experience similar to u under different circumstances.. I feel miserable for few days and some time few weeks then I remind my self "SUCK IT UP" and go back to do what I used to do before ...

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest longinvestor

I thought of sharing something I learned recently. In all work for the larger good, one piece of received wisdom is having our own goal while participating in it. The higher the goal, the more inspired and less distracted we become. And needless to add, these are not numerical goals, but intangible, selfless goals. Hope this is to the point.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Partner,

 

In situations like this I have always tried to be the better person and rise above the situation as you are doing.

 

I remind myself that I am a better person for handling it in the manner I did, and that in itself is more than enough reward for me.

 

It is likely insecurity, a personal problem, or as others mentioned--basic ineptness that caused the situation...

 

Keep above the fray and feel good about your contributions!

 

Cheers!

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This board has so much collective wisdom, especially if you compare it with Yahoo Finance and some stuff like that. I appreciate it very much.

 

I appreciate the toughts that you shared with me. They are inspiring.

 

I've been on the board of this organization for 2 years and worked with the principal officer on several projects. Nobody's perfect (myself very included), but overall I was satisfied with her job. She has energy, she learned to work with a lot of different people, she is open to suggestions and she care about the organization. But yes, sometimes she don't give enough credits to other people and organizations (not because of bad faith and because she want to claim everything for herself, it's just because she forgive to do so I guess).

 

That's not a big problem after all.

 

Buffett sometimes speak about the importance to have an inner scorecard. It's easier to build great things when your scorecard is inside of you than when it's in the eyes of the others (but that being said, it doesn't hurt to have some positive feedback sometimes). My inner scorecard tell me that I do a decent job there that will bear it's fruits (when I'll see the smiles on the faces of my fellow community members of all ages). Them having fun is what is mostly important. Our community told us by a poll that they were missing the good old times when they had get together happenings like that. They are collectively proud of where they live. Now they will have one and it's gonna be free. Maybe this happening will come back year after year and some people will have a little bit more joy two days per year, year after year. That's my main dividend.

 

And Prem's motto is very true.

 

Thank you very, very much for your wisdom, your counsel and your kind words. It appreciate it a lot!

 

Cheers!

 

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Partner,

 

Unfortunately, these things do happen quite often and the "good guys" are usually the ones that get the short end of the stick.

 

I know you only from your posts on this board but it is obvious that you are one of the most thoughtful, helpful and considerate posters here - many will agree with me on this.

 

No one can take away your pain but the good news is that it will pass with time.  It will be pass faster if you can dispel any resentment you have - anger and grudge-bearing only make victims miserable and prolong their disappointment; it rarely makes the target of the anger feel bad. While you are clearly disappointed, you do not sound bitter so I sense you will get over this quickly.

 

You made your contributions because of your intention to serve your community, not to get the approval of the principal officer, so you should take pride in that you have achieved your objective.

 

Finally, I can't help but bring in an investment analogy given the nature of this forum. ;) Try to think of your service contributions in portfolio terms. Just as some of your investments will work out and some won't, as long as you are doing the right thing, over time, your portfolio should work out fine. In the same way, if you keep on doing what you have been doing, your contributions will eventually be recognised by the people that truly matter - the ones who benefit from your efforts.

 

Meanwhile, I recommend you focus on the fact that the value of FFH continues to compound while you sleep. ;D

 

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Partner, something else that occurred to me that might help you put things in perspective. I'm thinking of Edward Liddy who was brought in to deal with AIG's problems, gets paid virtually nothing, and then gets hit from all sides - Congress, AIG employees, etc. It it still irritates me to think of how the politicians grilled him in the various hearings.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

A few pearls picked up along the way:

 

Always remember that a NPO board is primarily a political animal. The folks who do well are those who are very good at getting the right kinds of 'other' people to do the work - & it is a special kind of skillset. While we might question their methods - those folks are essentially salesman, & the 'sale' is a grant or time investment from a targeted donor.

 

Its often wise to diminish the business side wherever possible, & accentuate the 'grunt' part of the work. It's a lot more fun, a true change from your usual activity, and protection against 'expectation creep'. But your an 'X' & we could really use that skill, has a way of very quickly becoming a full time (& unpaid) job. Far better to simply contract out your services for a couple of months/yr.

 

Learn to say no, & be rude. I've done what I wanted to do, you have 60 days to find someone else, & after that - it's just not my problem. There will be no hard feelings, & the good salesman will quickly realize that any further sales effort would be wasted on you.

 

Chalk this one up to experience, & look for something else that exposes you to folks that you perhaps wouldn't normally meet.

 

For the more commercially inclined you might want to look at partnering with your local produce vendor. Volunteer the odd Saterday/Weekend so that Mom/Pop can get a break, & make the odd investment in seasonal stock over the xmas periods.

 

You'll eat very well!

 

SD

 

 

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...