Know when to put up your hand
Good trust governance requires trustees to be diligent.
The Collins dictionary defines diligence as ‘careful and persevering in carrying out tasks or duties’.
Diligence in my mind is found at the junction of mindset and conduct.
Trustees with the right mindset know what they’re responsible for, know what’s going on, and give matters at hand the proper care, consideration and attention.
That’s essential if you're responsible for other people interests.
Knowing the right things to do is one thing. To be diligent you need to be doing them.
When you know you’re not doing the right things as a trustee, it can play on your mind. That creates anxiety. Anxiety leads to rumination. Rumination creates unnecessary stress.
It’s a situation that requires a response.
It’s a bit like a situation I found myself in when I was swimming at Brighton beach near Christchurch. While I was a good swimmer and had surf training, I found myself nearly exhausted swimming back to shore.
I didn’t realise I was caught in a rip. I panicked.
Even though I was trained, it took me time to realise I was in danger and respond. When I did, my training kicked in, I swam to the side of the rip and into shore.
Sometimes when you’re busy or too close to things, you don’t always recognise exactly what situation you’re in, which options are available or whether you should put up your hand for help.
What I do know is not many surgeons operate on themselves.
Well-meaning professional trustees can't keep pushing on hoping things will get better or that they will get on to it 'someday'. That 'someday' needs to be soon.
With the Law Commission having signaled upcoming changes for trusts, there's a window for professional trustees to get match fit if the conditions suddenly change.
That means being diligent and moving from good intention to good practice.
Trust good practice.
Trustee Support Ltd