Qualifications and Selection

The most important question is: Do you have what it takes to be a board member? There are several underlying factors that are common across individuals who are often asked to serve on several boards throughout their lifetime.

The ability to get along well with others

A qualified board member should not only be able to build a good relationship with the CEO, but also be able to maintain a working, amicable relationship with the other members of the board. You should be able to voice a knowledgeable opinion to the rest of the group in a diplomatic manner.

Financial expertise

A good board member should have basic financial knowledge including how to read a balance sheet, a profit & loss statement, cash flow documents, and general audit documents. Before attending the board meeting, you should have reviewed all pertinent information, including financial statements.

Personal experience

Depending on the current state or need of a company, different traits would be desired of a board member. For example, if a company is about to go public, a director with past experience with an IPO would be able to offer valuable insight. If a company is in the state of distress, a director with a strong track record with turn-around companies may be an asset to the board.

Access to a variety of resources

This may include government connections, professional relationships, past or present colleagues, your attorney, accountant, consultant, etc. These individuals may all recommend you or act as personal references.

These are the typical prerequisites needed in order to be considered for a seat.

The Board Selection Process:

A board may start looking for a new member when a director leaves due to mandatory retirement, death, disability, or resignation. Also, the board may be in need of an individual with a specific background or expertise that meets the company’s needs. In some rare cases, the CEO may be drawn to an individual because of their unique background and/or qualifications. In these cases, a new board member may be invited to join despite the fact that there is no vacancy.

More often than not, the board selection process is performed using a more or less formal version of a grid, which expands upon the traits listed above.

Company ABC’s Board of Directors:
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Click to enlarge

Suppose that two board members are leaving this year: Board Member #3 is retiring, and Board Member #4 has decided to resign for health reasons. The following year, Company ABC would search for individuals to fill Board Member #3 and #4’s areas of expertise: legal, regulation, and auditing.

A large factor of becoming a board member is about being at the right place at the right time – when there is an opening requiring your particular set of skills.

We feel that the “Reverse Search” program is the most effective methodology to put you in consideration for a board seat. We combine a powerful presentation of your skills with strategically researched targets and direct access to decision makers.