Five Things to do Before You Join a Board

As much as I advocate for entering the boardroom before you think you can; I also strongly advocate that you go in with your eyes wide open and as prepared as you can be.

But where to start?

Let’s start at the beginning. And because I love lists, here is a list of five things that I think you should do before you join a board.

1. Consider your intentions for wanting to join a board

My board experience has shown me that people’s intentions for wanting to join a board largely come from a positive place (e.g. furthering a cause or mission they are passionate about), or from a place of ego (e.g. I want the title ‘director’).

If you’re wondering what is (or should be) driving your motivation to join a board, this post about checking-in on your board intentions will help.

If you’re wondering why you shouldn’t join a board, here are three reasons. If any of those resonate, consider making some changes before pursuing a board position.

2. Ask yourself: Do you have what it takes?

Being a director and being on a board requires a lot from you. You will draw on expertise, experience, skills, and knowledge that you didn’t even know you had. It will test your resilience, challenge your values, provoke your ego, and call on you to make decisions that impact peoples’ lives.

If you’re wondering if you have what it takes, this post will help you to know if you’re board ready.

3. Prepare a board CV

On your hunt for a board position, you will need a board CV. This is slightly different to the CV you use in your professional career as you need to focus your achievements on the facets of the business that boards are interested in.

Thankfully, building a board resume is something that you can do yourself. This post here will help to get you well on your way. You can also subscribe for our free five-day board resume writing challenge to get more direction – and a free template – around how to structure and what to include in your board CV. And I’m always available to give you an extra hand if you’re feeling a bit stuck.

4. Get your personal brand in order

What are people thinking about you? Are they even thinking about you? How you represent and present yourself carries a lot of weight. This applies for your board career and your professional career, and includes how you present yourself offline AND online.

Having the right people thinking of you in the right way at the right time can return dividends to your board career. Become intentional about building your personal board brand. There are some great ideas on how to start in this post here.

5. Do your due diligence

Landing a board interview is cause for celebration. It’s also time to get serious about finding out exactly what you could be getting yourself in to.

It’s time to do your due diligence.

A detailed process is provided here. Importantly, what you want to find out is the financial health and solvency of the organisation. Further to that, clarify if Directors and Officers coverage is provided. It’s also worthwhile to meet with the Chair or CEO to see that you have the all-important values alignment. During that conversation, find out why the vacancy is there. Do some broad research to determine if there is anything weird going on with the board or the company.

Information and knowledge is power.


Now, with your eyes wide open and being prepared as you can be, you’re ready to go after that board position.

Share your thoughts in the comments below: What do you need to do before you join a board?

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January 18, 2018

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What is Get on Board?

Get on Board delivers education and development courses that are open to individuals from all professional backgrounds and all types of industries (public, private, NFP, sporting organisations and clubs, etc.). Get on Board focuses on aspiring directors – those people looking to join a board in the near future – and on new directors – those who are currently in their first to fifth year of sitting on a board. Everything that we do is geared towards developing the corporate governance skills, and the business, strategic and financial acumen of new and aspiring company directors.


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