Deciding on who leads a company is crucial to an organization’s success. The emphasis on proficiency, confidence, experience, and compatibility appears significant when searching for an addition to the boardroom. As qualified as you may be unless there is a match between the candidate and the board in bringing value to the company you would not see any progress in the hiring phase.

It is critical when you are planning for your board career to truly understand where you add value and compare it to other board candidates available in the market. Understand the principles of good business practices and acquire a certain level of organizational competency.

How to Choose the Right Board?

Before jumping in on the first opportunity you see, limit your options to find the right opportunity for you. Ask yourself, what industries or companies would benefit most from your personal strengths and skills? Also, consider what type of company appeals to you, is it a non-profit, in a private sector, or publicly traded?

Think about what kind of culture or dynamics would keep you passionate and interested. Being a board member will require an adequate amount of time. Ensure that your opportunity will not feel like an obligation. When selecting a boardroom, a major key to finding your match is by having a mutual sense of the mission. While it will be an additional time commitment to your schedule you must find value in the time utilized. If you can connect to the purpose of the organization, you are projected to have a further impactful experience and discover it beneficial.


A Few Tips on How to Start & Position Yourself for Board Service

Start small: Start Your Board Search with Volunteering

Volunteering at an event allows you to get to know the other board members and grasp the organization’s culture and the dynamic structure of leadership. Not only is volunteering a great way to learn about the board, but it can also serve you as a catalyst in obtaining a seat. By creating a community prior to applying for a board chair you can better develop professional relationships with potential colleagues.

Through volunteering, you will have the opportunity to get exclusively recruited within existing the volunteer pool. You will have access to information about new opportunities opening and more of an insight into what they are looking for having already that one foot in the door. As nominations are essential to the funnel process of joining a board, connect with other board members and create a rapport.

Networking both on and offline is vital in opening lines of communication inside the boardroom. In a survey produced by the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD), approximately 70% of directors stated that their board had applied personal networking to select the pool of candidates. Get familiar and stay up to date with board recruitment websites and their social platforms. Ensure to connect with board members on professional platforms to be able to update about a new position and if a board member’s term is coming to an end. If the board is actively seeking new members, they might be prompted to promote it within their network.

Passion and appreciation of the mission

You want to feel proud to represent a specific organization. Ask yourself if you have a passion for the organization’s mission? Review your goals and compare them against each board to see if determine which opportunity is the best fit. Associating yourself with a company that you approve of is a key part of having an effective board member. Entering an executive board is an overall investment. Look to see if it is a good fit in the number of hours you can devote, the talent/abilities, and the money you would like to contribute to investing (donating).

Breaking down the expectations: Clarify responsibilities and board structure

Review the level of participation and responsibilities of the board. How involved will your position be? Ask specific questions regarding the everyday task and what exactly to anticipate in the role. Communicate with current board members to gain an insight into the boardroom culture. Review the company’s annual proxy statement for more insight into what qualities they seek in a board member. Note that over-domineering leadership styles are not tolerated in today’s boardroom. Check your ego before attaining a position on the board of directors. Joining a board is a mutual benefit and learning experience. It allows you to take on different perspectives and implement them into the company. As well as expanding your extensive network for additional opportunities as an executive board member.

Starting with what your strengths: Recruitment Best Practices and Process?

Consider how your strengths can contribute directly to the open board position. Developing a strong value proposition is one of the most important to have a successful career with a clear understanding of where you can add value to the boardroom. You will be able to articulate this information during interviews and in your meeting with future board members. Develop a robust value proposition that highlights your experience in strategy and risk management combine this with 2-3 unique capabilities that set you apart from your competition. What is your position statement? Now that you have a clear understanding of what value proposition and how it ties to the current board seat, it is about delivery. Practice your pitch, write down key attributes that the role requires and tie it back to your value proposition.

Be a life-lasting ambassador

Use your unique perspective and insight to bolster and promote assistance in fulfilling the mission. As leaders on a board, you want to inspire each other to make a positive impact in the future of the company. Break down the goals and create tangible actions to achieve them. Have an open line of communication with the board to address challenges and opportunities. Your board service is a long-term impact on the sustainability and success of an organization through leadership and implementing a sturdy foundation in the companies go to market strategy. Having a board that aligns with your values and your overall life goals is a powerful way to give your board purpose and company longevity.

How big is your board?

Nearly all governance experts advise against boards larger than 13-17, as it can be challenging to keep all of the board members engaged and involved in discussion. Throughout every business meeting, you want to ensure that all voices are listened to and understood. On the contrary, a modest size board is reducing the number of different perspectives and room for diversifying your board. A smaller-sized group lacks the ability to reach a larger part of the community. Whether which way in size, assess how the meetings are run to see what size board would be best for you to join.

What First-Time Board Members Should Know?

Joining a board also allows for a multitude of networking possibilities. You can develop relationships with colleagues that can drastically increase your professional reach and could unexpectedly pay off in the future. Many of the other board members will have strong networks, skills, and experience that may be beneficial to you outside of the board meetings.

A corporate board seat is a unique opportunity where members highlight their professional expertise while also gaining more knowledge and perspective about the profession. There are financial benefits to joining a board, but it varies depending on the company. According to the 2016 Spencer Stuart Board Index report, the average annual total compensation for S&P 500 directors, excluding the chairman's compensation, was $280,389. In fact, most members of non-profit boards are volunteers and do not receive any compensation. However, the experience of being a board member can provide more professional value than it could financially.

It is critical when you are planning for your board career to truly understand where you add value and your unique value proposition over other board director candidates available in the market. It is about having the right value proposition that fits well into the right team that secures the appointment. Establish a logical high-value plan that realizes your vision. When you discover your vision, you will feel more compelled to achieve it and you will be eager to do your board duties. If your board duties start to feel like a burden, the company could be impacted negatively as well. Before you jump on the board search process, make sure you have enough time and energy to take on extra responsibilities. Being a board member should feel like an asset to your experience, never a liability.


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