Asking for advice from old board members

Fila, the sports apparel company, has been loosing market share for a long time. They had some trouble with their former CEO, Jonathan Epstein, back in 2004. Very old news, you say.

The company was bought in January 2007 by Fila Korea Ltd, the former Korean licensee. More old news, you say. (Check out this story in the Baltimore Sun, May 22, 2007)

So here’s the twist:
The president of the holding company created for the acquisition had a radical idea. He called back the old CEO to turn the company around — albeit not in the same position.

I don’t do financial evaluations or speculation. But what I find interesting in this story is that somebody new in an organization understood the value of somebody old, somebody who might in other circumstances be labeled the “difficult employee.”

Every board more than about 12 minutes old has some board member who’s left, perhaps even someone that many other people were glad to see go. But if that person had any redeeming qualities, any skills or talents or knowledge that might be useful to the organization, there is no shame in asking that person for advice or counsel.

Sometimes the “old farts” have incites and perspectives worth examining… especially if your in a real pickle and don’t know where the top of the jar is.

This isn’t advice… just a thought.

— Kerch

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