Your Board Search: Demonstrating Your UVP
In my previous article I talked about developing your unique value proposition (UVP) that you will use in your board search activities.
This article will continue building on your UVP, looking at a framework to use your UVP to inform the information you include in your board resume and what you talk about during board interviews.
If you’ve done the work outlined in my previous article, it’s now time to demonstrate your UVP by detailing your past significant accomplishments in a way that resonates with your target board(s).
A framework for demonstrating your UVP
In her book, No Ceiling, No Walls: What women haven’t been told about leadership from career-start to the corporate boardroom, Susan Colantuono provides a framework for talking about your professional key achievements in a way that is more compelling, meaningful, and demonstrates your understanding of the critical factors in an organisation.
That is, focusing on the strategic, business, and financial outcomes that you help to achieve in your professional capacity.
It’s not a laundry list of your key responsibilities or what you do day-to-day. Rather, it’s connecting your work as a professional to the significant outcomes that the organisation wanted to achieve.
Let’s use the UVP example from my previous article for the marketing/sales professional who is looking to join the boards of established companies that are ready to try new techniques to help them continue to grow. Let’s call her Kim.
I enable established organisations to grow and enter new markets through implementing effective and innovative sales and marketing campaigns.Kim’s UVP
Kim now has to review her key professional achievements and connect them with how they assisted in achieving the critical strategic, business and financial outcomes of the organisation.
Instead of This: Team lead for the XYZ new markets project.
Use This: Implemented the XYZ new markets system delivering on the projected 25% increase in new customers, a10% increase in current-customer sales, and an improvement in overall profitability of 30%.
Instead of This: Answered customer questions.
Use This: Contributed to customer retention rate of 98% by providing authoritative and complete answers to questions, significantly reducing the financial impact of lost customers by 20% and decreasing the long-term cost per customer acquisition by 35%.
Instead of This: Managed $150,000 marketing budget.
Use This: Invested my $150,000 marketing budget to grow revenue by 27% year-over-year, with a subsequent profit growth of >15% annually, and increased market share from 15% to 35%.
This approach helps Kim to demonstrate her strategic, business, and financial acumen by demonstrating that she understands how what she does in her role impacts the whole business, rather than just her focusing purely on ‘marketing’ or ‘business development’.
It also demonstrates that she knows how to accomplish her marketing / business development goals by working across the organisation, taking her from executive-level thinking, to board-level thinking. In order for businesses to achieve their strategic goals, multiple levers need to be pulled across the entire organisation.
Then, Kim can elaborate on these achievements in her board interview, and add other key achievements that didn’t make it into her board resume.
The critical thing to recognise is that Kim provides key achievements that directly relate back to her UVP, demonstrating her expertise in a way that resonates with her target board(s).
Take it to the Next Level
To make this resonate much more with your target board(s), tailor or adapt your key achievements to the board you are applying to.
This could be something as simple as tweaking the words you use (incorporating language used within the target organisation) or, it could be using different key achievements altogether. You usually don’t have to list ALL of your key achievements (for your board CV, focus on around four highly-relevant key achievements per professional role), so be quite selective with the ones you do include.
How do you know which ones to include? Do your research! You should be closely reviewing the organisation as part of your due diligence, so start before you even apply and use the information you gain from it to inform how you prepare and position your application.
I hope this helps you start to get a clearer picture of how your UVP influences other elements of your board search activities.
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