What is 2022 going to look like for you? If a board appointment or a more significant, perhaps paid, board role is what you want then you need a plan. People get overwhelmed with advice when it comes to how to start a board career. Some say to start with a not for profit appointment, others think a Board CV is critical and others think you have to be a CEO or have the ‘right’ connections in the first place.
My advice? Simply start telling people you are looking for a board appointment or want to develop a board career. In many cases, it can be just that easy. But as always, the devil is in the detail… Who do you tell? What do you say? How do you say it? More specifically, what do you say when someone asks you ‘what sort of company do you want to be appointed to?’ or, ‘What is your value at board level?’
Telling people is important but you need to do more. You need a plan. Something that is simple, sustainable, easy to implement and that works.
The board appointment plan has three core elements – Aspiration, Application and Application
- Firstly with clarity about your board aspiration – being able to list the organisations you both want to, and can be, appointed to the board of;
- Secondly, it is about defining the reason you should be appointed to those boards; and
- Thirdly, understanding how you will be appointed.
It is a five-step process
STEP 1: Planning– Board Career planning starts with clarity about your board aspiration – being able to list the organisations you both want to, and can be, appointed to the board of. You then need to define the reason you should be appointed to those boards, your board pitch.
STEP 2: Documents- A Board CV should be different from your Executive CV. It should clearly address your value at board level. The processes of writing this document may be useful in defining your unique skill set and board pitch.
STEP 3: Board Roles- Finding board vacancies and submitting applications is by far the most time-consuming part of the process. Having all the roles available in one place for many is invaluable. We source and advertise over 5,000 each year.
STEP 4: Training & Support- Successful non-executive directors are for every learning; aspiring directors should be doing the same. Whether it is how to be a better director, governance qualifications or advice on how to build a board portfolio, you should consider your options.
STEP 5: Accountability- This step is the one that most people miss, and doing so is the main reason why many fail. Gaining a board appointment is a process that takes time and perseverance. You need to follow your forward-thinking plan, actively work on the above steps on a regular basis, and spend your time wisely. You need to build in accountabilities. Prioritise weekly tasks and review your plan quarterly
If you want a board role next year, you need a plan that is easy to implement, will unlock board opportunities, focus your attention and reduce frustration. You want fewer ‘thanks, but no thanks’ emails in response to your applications, more interviews and ultimately a board appointment. A plan that will generate a greater ROI of your time.
Our Executive Membership Package will assist you with almost every aspect of the Board Appointment process. Not only will you get access to board opportunities, but we will also write your Board Profile & CV, review your Board Applications before you submit them, and take you through practical online training from Board Career Planning to preparing for NED Interviews.
About the Author
David Schwarz is CEO & Founder of Board Appointments – The UK’s leading board advertising and non-executive career support firm. He has over a decade of experience of putting people on boards as an international headhunter and a non-executive recruiter and has interviewed over one thousand non-executives and placed hundreds into some of the most significant public, private and NFP roles in the world.