Welcome to Module 4: Finding Board Positions
In this module…
You will learn how to:
– ask the right questions
– find suitable Board roles
Finding Board Positions
Finding Board and Committee positions is actually quite an easy thing to do. Much like seeking out a traditional job, Board roles are advertised in many forums and formats. You can find them on:
– online noticeboards
– directly on websites
– email notifications
Don’t forget word-of-mouth is also one of the key ways people also find out about opportunities! Sometime prospective members are also approached directly about Board opportunities.
Key to this, is getting out and meeting new people. Attending events and functions where you will meet different people from different backgrounds.
Now that you’ve got a good appreciation for your value proposition, not only might you hear about Board positions but you will also have a clearer sense of how the opportunity might fit with what you’re looking for.
Building your networks and contacts is helpful, not just for prospective Board work but others get to know who you are, what you offer and how to get hold of you!
What you firstly want to do, is have a look at an information package which should contain relevant details and a copy of a Position Description. This outlines what’s expected of the Board and Board members.
When you find what seems like a good opportunity, there are a range of other questions to ask to undertake a diligence check of the organisation and Board. You want to get a good understanding of:
– What the business is all about?
– Where is it heading?
– Is it financially stable?
– What’s the leadership like?
– What are the values and culture of the organisation?
– How the Board is structured and composed?
– What is expected of Board members?
If it peaks your interest, confirm your eligibility and make sure you haven’t got any limiting conflicts of interest.
Conflicts of interest
When applying or on a Board, it’s important to make sure any conflicts of interest are managed appropriately.
Conflicts of interest are where relationships, business interests, property ownership, trust ownership, or company shareholdings for example, present circumstances where profits are distributed, or where yourself, your family or friends, may receive a benefit related to the board you’re sitting on.
The benefits may not necessarily be monetary and may consist of other rewards such as the receipt of products or services. This can cloud judgement and reduce independence in making the right decisions on behalf of others.
Sometimes they can be managed however other times they can not effectively be managed.
There are three types of conflicts of interest. They are:
– Actual: Where there is a real and direct conflict. Where a board member, or their connections, may be advantaged as a result of the board member holding a position on the board.
– Potential: Where there is a risk of conflict occurring in the future that may present a conflict for a board member.
– Perceived: Where conflict by a board member is believed to exist and may cause risk to the organisation.
To understand more about finding Board roles and the information you need to assess a Board opportunity, watch the following video.
Task 1: Read article
Take a look at the following article. It elaborates further on the concept of conflicts of interest. Click on the button below.
Task 2: Finding Board positions
This task is aimed at helping your streamline and focus your Board role search so you don’t waste time and effort. Begin your task by drawing on what you learnt in Module 3 about the type of organisation, business model and geographical reach.
To get an idea of what the adverts include,
1. Take a look at standard vacancy locations such as Seek and LinkedIn
2. When you commence your research, use key words like ‘Non-Executive Director’, ‘Director’, ‘Board member’, ‘Board positions’, ‘ Committee roles’, for example.
3. Find a couple of position descriptions for Board roles, even if it isn’t necessarily the right fit for you.
Spend no more than 15-20 minutes familiarising yourself with such position descriptions.
Spend a little more time though thinking about how you, your skills and offering fits this position. Alternatively, what would a more suitable Board position description look like for you.
Task 3: Seeking a suitable Board position
The aim of this task is to equip you with some tools for finding, not just any board, but the right Board role for you.
This step involves you assessing the suitability of roles. This task will equip you with a list of questions to identify prospective and suitable opportunities and work through key considerations.
Not only is this exercise helping you identify your fit to the Board but is also helping you to take a diligent assessment so you can decide if it’s right for you!
Use your researching capabilities to access information about the organisation online, emails or hard copies. You’ll want to view plans, reports and any documentation you can find about the current status of the organisation of interest.
Most importantly, determine if you have any conflicts of interest and that you’re actually eligible to apply!
Find the Board Positions worksheet in your workbook for key considerations to help provide you with clarity.
Task 4: A world of opportunity
This exercise involves getting you out of your comfort zone! You are going out, off to an event! The purpose of this is to learn more about Boards and to meet new people.
This task involves you attending a Board-related event. An Annual General Meeting or a local Council meeting so that you can observe a key duty that a Board undertakes and what roles each of the members play.
While you’re there, introduce yourself to someone. Talk about the meeting and practice having a conversation about what you saw, perhaps what improvements there could have been. That way, you can learn from your own experience and grow your network at the same time!
Nothing comes from doing nothing!
– William Shakespeare
Finding suitable Board roles…
The outcomes of this module is to provide and equip you with four new skills to help you find the right Board positions for you.
The four key outcomes of Module 4 are:
1. Steps: Understanding the steps involved in searching for Board positions and assessing the suitability, will save you time, effort and energy from chasing roles which are not well-suited.
2. Knowledge: Researching the background and relevant details of Board opportunities allows you to be aware of the individual role, responsibilities and other details associated with the Board opportunity.
3. Assessment: By undertaking a conscious review of an opportunity, you can be comforted that you’ve exercised the information to make an informed judgement and decision about the role.
4. Alignment: You will have identified an opportunity which sings to your heart!
Well done on working your way through Module 4 to learn how to find and assess suitable Board positions.
To make sure you’ve captured the outcomes above, the Module 4 Checklist is enclosed within your workbook for you to use.
Take the next step in your Board journey…