The Benefits of Serving on a Board
The business world is very utilitarian…What is the Benefit! Always when a company makes an investment, produces a new product, hires a new employee, what is the benefit. The same is true when a company adds a new member to their board of directors. The benefit might be new market knowledge in doing business internationally, or experience in managing a company 2x or 3x the size of the boards company, etc.
If you have been approached or are considering joining a board you need to ask yourself what are the real benefits joining this organization. One clue is that money is never the first item on the list.
Some of the benefits help advance your knowledge, some might help you advance your career some may even provide you with some emotional value and yes there often is financial benefits of a varying degree.
Here is a list of five potential benefits:
- Inside exposure to a different company’s operation. Everything from how the company goes to market, is financially structured, expands operations even their executive compensation model. Also how the company handles their daily challenges. This provides you with real time knowledge you can use in your own career.
- Expanded relationships. Other highly successful people will be serving on the board with you and their network is available as well. A friend of mine once told me that once he was elected to a public company board he contacted continuously about serving on other boards. People network with people they know.
- You are able to leverage you experience. There were several reasons why you were selected to the board but probably one specific experience you have that is of high value that you will want to leverage.
- A sense of accomplishment in seeing others (who don’t report to you) succeed. It is similar to seeing your child do well in school or athletics except the company executives listen to your advice.
- Compensation and potentially some unique benefits. A board of a successful company will provide you with compensation for the time and experience you bring to them. Additionally you may get some very interesting benefits like use of the corporate jet once a year or company products use so you understand the company better.
Every director I have worked with feels strongly about the benefits of their board service both personally and professionally.