Dictatorship vs democracy in the business world

8 min Reading | Darius Stevens Wilhere
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You own a successful business and you want to take the next step to institutionalize it and you’ve heard about this thing called Corporate Governance. You call in some consultants to talk it over or you look it up online and your first impression is that if you choose to put in a system of Governance you are going to have to surrender power of your company which you currently single-handedly control.

What business owner in their right mind would do that? And why? Why on Earth would you want to let a Board to tell you how to run your business? Or set-up all these meetings which you never have the time for anyways?

To be blunt, the most important thing to establish is if it is important that your business survives past you or runs well without you being on-site to run it or supervise it every day of your life. If the answer is yes to either of those, then you need some form of Corporate Governance.

Perhaps the “Dictatorship” in the headline is a bit harsh. Maybe “benevolent monarchy” would be a better description for you. But when you’ve lived in the business world long enough, you know there are still plenty of dictators.

And why not? If you built the business and you own the business, why shouldn’t you be a dictator?

Because without some form of established governance, the company most likely won’t survive without you there. It is the same problem of all monarchies and all dictatorships: succession. Those systems rely completely on the skill of the person in power. And an unskilled person in a business dictatorship can destroy a company in a fraction of the time it took to build it by a skilled person. And this is just one reason why having Corporate Governance is so vital because it tackles head on the problems of succession and the handling of power within a company to ensure the company is always looked after.

But that’s not all, properly done Corporate Governance inspires all people in a company to contribute to its survival, not just one person at the top. It establishes audit systems to ensure your funds are protected. It creates strong management structures which can be effective without you having to handle everything yourself. It imbues the values you built the company on within its corporate culture. It frees you to either concentrate on longer term strategic expansion or to begin diversifying and expanding your interests and businesses, leaving behind a company that can care for itself and in doing so, care for your interests.

There are additional benefits as well. Today’s investors are smarter and more informed than ever, clear Corporate Governance gives a company credibility and investors’ confidence that their funds will be managed well. It’s a great way to secure additional capital to speed the expansion of your business. And if you ever so choose to put your company on the stock market, you will be prepared for the transition where Governance is mandatory.

It is a fact of life that we only have so much time in this world. And few know the desperation of the owner at the top to keep the wheels turning in a large business to provide for their families and ensure that their employees have jobs which feed their families as well; to say nothing of a company that contributes positively to the society.

So, the next time your company crashes when you go on a vacation or your quality of life is suffering because you are up all-night stressed about your business or you find yourself working a 120 hour week and wondering why all the responsibility for its survival always lands on your shoulders, remember that there is a solution and it is one that done well, will help you evolve your company into one that successfully lives long past you; carrying your dreams, ideals and ambitions far into the future.

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