Trustee conduct – Know when to ask for help

Published August 16, 2015

Good trust governance requires trustees to be diligent.

The Collins dictionary defines diligence as ‘careful and persevering in carrying out tasks or duties’.

Diligence for me is found at the junction of good trustee mindset and good trustee 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 as well.

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 not always easy choosing the right response.

I remember getting caught in a rip when I was swimming near Christchurch.  I’m a pretty good swimmer, but I found myself exhausted swimming back to shore.

I hadn’t realised I was in a rip.  I panicked.  It That meant I didn’t respond quickly to the situation I was in.

When I did, my surf lifesaving 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 see the situation you’re in, which options are available or that you need 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.

Trustees need to be diligent.  That often starts by taking the first step to move from good intention to good practice

Trust good practice.


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