Board Recruitment Best Practices
A number of years ago for my birthday a friend of mine brought over 5 different vodka’s for me to try a blind taste test and select my favorite. He brought Stolichnaya, Kettle One, Grey Goose, Skyy and Belvedere. They say that vodka is a tasteless, odorless liquor but I found out differently and have been a loyal Skyy Vodka drinker ever since. All of the others I tasted were well known and I picked the one that works for me.
When it comes to best practices in Board Recruitment the blind taste test is one of the most important ones. The key items to always remember are:
- Start with the end in mind. This is one of Steven Covey’s 7 habits and critical to defining your next board member. Ask yourself where is the company today and where do you want it to be in 5 years. Build your new board profile around getting someone who has already been there and done that in specific terms.
- Blind taste test. It is human nature to go with what you know, especially when it comes to people who will be critical to the organizations success. This limits you and the company. More than half the candidates you consider should be new to you and your board. They will bring new fresh perspectives and experiences plus they will not feel constrained by previous relationships and be able to speak openly not worrying about who feelings they may bruise including their own.
- Make sure that the stakeholders are properly represented when you bring in your next board member. This means considering shareholders, employees, customers, vendors and communities.
- Ask the diversity question. Is the board diverse enough for the business?
Adding a new board member is not like hiring an employee. In some respects it is easier and some respects more difficult, but for sure it is different. The best results happen with proper planning, seeking a bigger pool of candidates and being clear about what you need from a new board member.
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