THERE'S SO MUCH WRITTEN ABOUT RECRUITING BOARD TALENT, I thought I'd spend a little time thinking about it from the prospect's point of view. Clearly, there are boards where the line is long to get on them. But what would make you turn down an invitation?
Here's a short list to get the conversation started:
1. You've had no prior exposure to the organization. Your immediate reaction is "did you pull my name out of a hat?" (Is that lady in the picture the head of the Nominating Committee?) Seems as though there must be a hidden agenda at work (like you're rich and once you become a board member you'll pour all your resources into the organization) or the organization is simply looking for any warm body to fill a seat.
2. The organization doesn't have a good reputation. There's something to be said for street cred. An organization that's floundering may be strengthened by your participation or you may find yourself sucked into a morass with all kinds of legal and financial complications. What are the clues and cues to help you figure out which it will be?
3. You're a former employee of the organization. You bring baggage -- good and bad. It's an awkward situation for current employees to be governed and evaluated by former employees. Former employees may make terrific subject-matter advisors, but not governors. Draw the line there.
4. There's no written and shared plan for the future. This is an indicator that resources could be going in many directions with little overall coordination toward an articulated endpoint. It likely means there is also little or no critical assessment tools in place to measure resource effectiveness.
5. The organization offers board seats as prizes. Do a great job on that fundraiser, get a board seat! Usher for 30 years, get a board seat! Perfect attendance at board meetings, get to be president! The organization's lack of a thoughtful evaluative process for building its board is a detriment (relates to #1).
6. Who else serves on board. A pretty good indicator of all of the above.
I'm sure there are more reasons, so share your stories!
Photo: Mom's name hat from nokapixel