How to Best Use Your Network to Help You Find a Board Position

Doing this one simple thing can make all the difference in your board search.

I’m often contacted by aspiring board members to ‘keep them in mind’ should a board vacancy become available.

My favourite thing to do is to help anyone start or build their board career! So my usual response to these requests is ‘Please let me know what type of board you’re looking to join.’

It’s at this point that I usually never hear from them again. And that’s disappointing and frustrating.

How can I help you if I don’t know what you’re looking for? Not having an answer to that question looks as though you want to join a board just to say you’re on a board. If that’s the case, it’s highly likely that no one in your network will want to put you forward for any board vacancies that they are aware of.

If you are serious about starting or building your board career and you are asking people in your network ‘to keep you in mind’ should a board position become available, help them help you by actually articulating the type of organisation or board you want to join.

Help your network help you by articulating the type of organisation or board you want to join.”

This can be done in three simple ways:

1. Describe the type of organisation you would like to join

Using this method you describe the kind of organisation you are hoping to join the board of in very straightforward terms. For example:

“I’m looking to join a board of a not-for-profit in the disability services sector.”

“I’d love to join the board of a local football club in the southern suburbs of Adelaide.”

“My goal is to join the board of a start-up company that focuses on medical devices innovation.”

Of course, in these examples, you would sub-in the board, organisation, or industry that you are looking to join.

2. Describe the current business stage or business ambition

If you’re not focused on a specific industry or type of organisation, you can use this method to describe where an organisation is currently at and where it wants to go as your goal board. For example:

“I am looking to join the board of an organisation in a fast-growth industry and help them navigate the legal landscape that comes with a rapidly growing organisation.”

“I am ready to invest my energies and skills into a progressive, modern-thinking board that is looking to achieve sound internal governance processes along with business growth and expansion.”

“My goal is to join the board of a sport association that is ready to become more female-friendly and effectively leverage those opportunities.”

Again, you would sub-in the state of the board, organisation, or industry that you are looking to join, and, of course, your skillset.

3. Describe using a blend of the first two approaches

If you want to get really specific, this approach can really help you be very clear on the board you want to join. For example:

“I’d love to join the board of a local football club in the southern suburbs of Adelaide. In particular, one that is ready to become more female-friendly and effectively leverage those opportunities.”

“My goal is to join the board of a start-up company that focuses on medical devices innovation. More specifically, one that is growing rapidly and that requires help navigating the legal landscape that comes with a fast growing organisation in this industry.”

“I’m looking to join a board of a not-for-profit in the disability services sector. Ideally one that is progressive and modern-thinking, and is looking to achieve sound internal governance processes along with business growth and expansion.”

If you’d like to take this approach a little further, you can suggest an ideal or example organisations to help the person in your network get a real grasp of your board goal and perhaps even open a door for you.

For example:

“I’m looking to join a board of a not-for-profit in the disability services sector. Ideally one that is progressive and modern thinking, and is looking to achieve sound internal governance processes along with business growth and expansion. For example, Inclusive Sport SA or the Motor Neurone Disease Association of South Australia”.

 

Any of these three approaches is going to help you exponentially more than asking your network to ‘keep you in mind’.

AND, if you attach your board CV to your request for help, you’ll win major bonus points.

Why not practice now?! What board do you want to join? Share below.


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January 30, 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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