People often ask me which is the best investment into director development they should be making. And as much as I’d love to recommend Boardroom Bootcamp to everyone, it’s just not that simple (doh!).
The fact is there are many options available to you to expand your board “qualifications”. I like to take a holistic view in that you should be looking at a range of formal and informal learning opportunities to build your board expertise.
Here are five universal considerations that everyone should make when it comes to selecting director development options.
1. Take stock of the stage you’re at
Your first consideration to make is what stage you are at with your board career. If you’re entry-level (i.e. right at the very beginning of your board career) your education and development requirements will be quite different than if you already have notched up a few years of board experience.
There are formal education programs for entry-level directors and for experienced directors looking to up their game and take on more sophisticated board appointments. Talk to the provider about your personal situation and whether their program is suitable for your board career stage.
2. What’s your budget?
Your second consideration is cost. What is your education budget? Many director development options available are relatively expensive, particularly for new board members and board hopefuls. Whereas some others are priced to make them more accessible to the people who need development the most (i.e. new board members, volunteer board members, etc.). With a little searching, you will find an option that works for your budget.
3. How much time do you have?
Your next consideration is time. What is your time availability to undertake the course/learning? Are you able to take a whole week off to sit face-to-face in a course? Or is flexible, bite-sized chunks better suited to your schedule?
4. How do you learn?
Your fourth consideration is your learning style. Are you better face-to-face or via self-paced learning? There are many options available to cover the full range of learning styles and life situations.
5. What on-the-job education are you getting?
On-the-job experience should be incorporated into any board development approach that you take. Since you don’t need a qualification to join a board, on-the-job learning can be extremely beneficial for your board career – you just want to do enough formal director education to know if you’re picking up the right lessons!
Depending on your situation, on-the-job learning and racking up some actual board experience may currently be your best board development option. Consider it as a viable and worthwhile option and investment.
At the end of the day, balancing all of these factors may lead to some level of compromise before you land on an option that is best for you.
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