Tips for Joining Boards
As a partner at Brannigans, Nick is jointly responsible for the day to day management of the team and key client relationships. In addition to Brannigans, Nick holds governance roles with Sumner Lifeboat Incorporated and the London and Canterbury based search firm, New Zealand Skills in Demand, which he co-founded five years ago. He is also passionate about assisting companies grow to their potential through their people and is a strong advocate of good governance.
Tips for Joining Boards
- Consider your motivations for being on a board. What is your intention? Knowledge, networks, career movement?
- Know your current employers policy about being on a board – is it allowed?
- Consider the sector you are most interested in and best suited to – what are your transferable skills and then think laterally!
- Let others know your board ambitions – only 30% of jobs are found through traditional advertising methods
- Read up and understand director’s duties as well as what is happening in the wider business community – not just your sector
- Consider what value you add to a board – be clear about what you bring
- Have a good CV and a professional pitch ready – more concise, summary of transferrable and professional skills, your passion and what you can offer
- Interface with boards in your current role as much as you can to gain exposure
- Look at joining a not for profit board or volunteering your services to get ‘foot in the door’ – growing focus on governance in the SME market
- Set up a LinkedIn profile, if you don’t have one already, market yourself and indicate that you are interested in joining a board in your profile. Recruiters/employers commonly use LinkedIn as a head hunting tool instead of going to the market – so put yourself out there!
- Join relevant institutes such as Institute of Directors – great training, development and networking opportunities
- Get a mentor – The IoD established the Mentoring for Diversity programme to link experienced women directors with chairs and senior directors from NZX and large company boards to connect board-ready women with a better understanding of how large company boards work and to assist in the process of seeking appointment
- Attend relevant functions – not just within your industry
- Remember to “network to give, not to get” – what is your value? (the following from Feb/March 2016 edition of Magazine of the Institute of Directors in NZ publication ‘Boardroom’):
- Know thyself, understand your style
- Set your goals
- Share information and become a value-add to others
- It’s all about people
- Front up
- Open-ended questions
- First impressions and all that…
- Follow up
- Keep in touch
- Practice, practice practice (but take breaks too)
- Identify headhunting / executive recruitment agencies that work in the governance space – introduce yourself and join their database
- Know your personal style and identify organisations that match that