Who is chairman of your household?

Corporate governance

Who sets the strategic direction in your relationship? (Photo courtesy of Surachai / freedigitalphotos.net)

“Happy wife, happy life” -Proverb

Corporate governance sets the scene

Has the board of directors made its decision? Have they set the direction for the next planning period? In many American corporations  the chairs of the CEO and the chairman of the board are one and the same. This model is often called Anglo-American model.

On the other side of the Atlantic ocean the seats of the chairman of the board and CEO are separated. The model is often called multi-stakeholder model. Here, the chairman is named as non-executive chairman, who does not take part into operational activities of the company. It is the CEO whose job is to run the operations within the guidelines set by the board.

In addition to setting the direction one of the most important task of the board is to name and dismiss CEO. In this model the purpose of the board is to oversee the benefits of shareholders. This two tier type of corporate governance builds up also the framework for relationships – how do they operate?

Playhouse and dolls

Generally speaking women look into the future. Imagine your childhood and different games and plays that boys and girls used to do. As a boy you were probably sliding the toy car on the floor and quarreling about who can play with the white Porsche and who will have the red Ferrari.

Meanwhile girls were decorating their playhouse and cooking for their dolls. Once in a while trying to force boys to join the play and be the daddy for their home of imagination. That’s preparation for the future that girls dream about in very early age. They might create an imagination of the family before they even might know who will be the lucky one.

Relationships are actually often organized as the corporations in continental Europe.  Women set the guidelines and men execute. It’s me who vacuum cleans, but she’s the one determining when.

Sure, in a small business as a family, she, the chairman of the board, takes a big role in the operational level too. But think about it again, have you been able to decide when to empty a dish washer I just got a second kind reminder. I was able to postpone the task for an hour to be able to do some writing.

More social proof

Have you ever heard any of your friend say: “I proposed to her, because the concept of marriage is very important to her”. Or what about this: “We started to build a new house, because she thought we needed more space.”  I have witnessed both and I was convinced that many relationships are governed by the same model as thousands of corporations.

Your wife sets the course and you execute? Maybe the hedgerow has grown a bit too high and in the next moment you find yourself with the hedge shears in the backyard. In relationships women hold the seat of the chairman of the board. Women determine the course of the company by setting the strategic direction. Men conduct the daily tactical operations by being a chief executive officer.

Strategic questions confirm

As mentioned board of directors select the CEO. In business life CEOs play the role of a representative of the company. He’s the public figure towards the media, customers, suppliers, employees and other stakeholders.

The same board has the burden and obligation to let go an unfortunate CEO who has not achieved the targets set by the board. In extreme the only function of the board is to nominate and let go of the CEO. Because of the ultimate power of the chairman of the board is often a powerful influencer behind the scenes. All of it is surprisingly familiar in private relationships too.

The same day I was writing this particular chapter, my lovely partner again popped up the question I fear: “So where we will be in one year?” My brains just shout: “I don’t have a clue! Why are you asking me?” But I managed to keep my lips together and instead I mumbled the magical counter question: “How do you imagine that?”

Per se women require more confidence about the future and therefore drive to set more defined course for the relationship. It’s the chairman of the board who carries the ultimate responsibility about the future.


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