How do I deal with a troublesome board member?

_Naturally, this is a question most founders would just as soon not have attributed to them. I agreed to post it on one person’s behalf._

*How do I deal with board member whose priorities seem to be diverging from mine and my co-founder’s at a critical time in the startup’s life?*

My co-founder and I have our hands full dealing with things like a) a product upgrade and b) a big sales push to get us over the hump. It’s a critical time for the business, and we’re pusing our team really hard. We’re confident that this will work, but we have a particularly difficult board member who doesn’t seem to share our attitude.

We’re not sure why, but nothing seems sufficient to meet his expectations for revenue (some of which I feel may be unreasonable for a young startup). We hear the word “results” a lot. I am beginning to fear that his attitude might have more to do with his own investment portfolio (need for an exit?), and less to do with our company. More pressing: we worry that his attitude, or lack of patience, will taint others on our board — insecurity breeds insecurity, and after a certain point, I’ve observed that many investors will opt for unloading a startup that represents a troublesome situation. (Ditto for a founder who represents same.)

The director is a well-connected investor, so we can’t afford to alientate him, or anyone else. And I figure if we go head-to-head with him we’ll lose. (Money talks.) So short of fostering more confrontation/conflict before the board, what can we do? The more time we spend assuaging his concerns, the less time we have for the real work.

loading

Comments have been disabled for this post