I often say that the less I work, the less interested I am in working. I really enjoyed working, but I don’t miss it too much day-to-day. That said, when I do put on a business suit and ‘go to work’, I still find it very enjoyable.
I recently got back from our quarterly board of directors meeting at ‘SmallCorp’ in Michigan. I call it SmallCorp only because it is much smaller than the MegaCorps where I spent my career, but it is sizable. They have almost 5,000 employees in 11 countries around the world working with almost every major car company in North America, Europe, China, and Japan.
When I come back from these meetings I am reminded of how much I enjoyed working in an executive role, solving problems, and crafting growth initiatives that create value for customers, good jobs for employees, and returns for shareholders. While the board isn’t directly responsible for running the company day-to-day – there isn’t any aspect of the organization that we don’t touch in some way.
At the same time, we are directly involved in making the company’s biggest strategic decisions – how to grow, where to invest, and who will run the business. At our latest meeting we kicked off work on a major manufacturing initiative, a big investment in a new product initiative for electric vehicles, assessed ongoing challenges from steel tariffs, and discussed how our Chinese plants & employees are impacted by the coronavirus. Some heady topics, for sure!
I typically fly to SmallCorp HQ on a Monday afternoon (either commercial or in their corporate plane), attend a board dinner that night, and sit in the board meeting all day on Tuesday. I will have received a comprehensive board book in advance to pre-read for the meeting. By Tuesday night, I am heading back home by 5pm with my mind revved up from the latest board discussions.
SmallCorp is one of three board roles that I currently serve in and one of the most engaging. It keeps me plugged into the corporate world and the challenges of international business. It doesn’t take a tremendous amount of time, but serves an important role in the otherwise goof-off world early retirement.
What board roles do you serve in / would you like to serve in after your full-time career is over?
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