Nothing makes me happier than when a portfolio company directly asks for help - especially when it is a focused ask, and I know we can add value. This happened to me just yesterday.
The quote below from an Operating Partner in RealDeals highlights the yin-yang tension that can exist between investor execs sitting on company boards. We really want to help, and often have some great (and probably less great) ideas. At the same time, we absolutely do not want to come across as interfering and opinionated.
Different investors have very different styles as to how they interact, but in my experience the best outcomes are when the portfolio company know where they want help, and directly tell investors what they want them to do.
Top-down command-and-control can work in the short-term and in times of corporate stress, but voluntary acceptance is the only way to get long-term sustainable change that drives value growth – an often over-looked truth.