Leverage Your Strengths and Experiences

You need to add value when you join a board of directors. The strength you bring to a board is the job you are in or the positions you’ve held in the past typically ten years or more. Identify your strengths that are important to a CEO of a company. Demonstrating expertise and competency in a specific area(s) will be important as you are considered for board positions.

Typically a board search will look for executives with line management experience, seated or former CEOs, COOs and CFOs. The criteria for a board member are usually specific with requirements that help the board round out its skill and experience matrix. Look at the website of a public company under Investor Relations and Governance or Board of Directors. Note the age and experience profile of the individuals who are on the board.

Your work as a CEO or with CEOs is valuable to your work on a board. You know how to communicate with a CEO. You understand their strategic decision-making and leadership role in the company and marketplace. You may have spent time in the boardroom and have seen them in action with board members. You have a feel for board dynamics. You understand the role of the board relative to its CEO.

What Makes You Special or Unique?
1. Who are you?
2. What is different about you?
3. What are your strengths?
4. What makes you unique and highly differentiated from other candidates?
5. Why are you a good fit to this company?
6. Why would this company’s shareholders want to vote for you on the upcoming proxy?

Be prepared to discuss your strengths and experiences. The experiences you have that are most relevant to a board interview are the types of experiences that reflect the decisions a board might make:

• Mergers & Acquisitions of companies
• Real estate acquisitions or sales
• Approving Strategic plans / Changing Strategic Direction
• Consummating large deals
• Spin Ins / Spin Outs
• Hiring and Firing Executives
• Start-up and Business Growth Experiences
• Turn-Arounds
• Leadership and Leadership Development

Consider your strengths and experiences as they apply to the C-Suite when you pursue a board of directors seat. Putting your finger distinctly on what makes you unique will also help you articulate your value-add to a board. Reflecting on your strengths and experiences is a good starting point for your path to a board seat.

© Julie England, 2012