May 7th, 2013 – Vienna, Austria – Richard Joly’s interview about the most efficient behavior of Board Directors has echoed in an article in Semanaeconómica’s web bulletin in Perú (April 30th, 2013).
In Semanaeconómica, one of the top weekly business magazines in Perú, Richard Joly is refered to when it comes to the question of how to become a member of a Board of Directors.
Ready for the Board of Directors? (translation by AIMS International)
I am 47 years old and I have nearly 20 years of experience in executive positions. I feel ready to be part of a Board of Directors. How do they realize that I am ready?
Feeling ready is important, but sometimes not enough. The Boards of Directors of the largest private companies usually require experience and / or general management positions or high severity.
However, all Boards of Directors usually have at least a CFO and a lawyer, which represents an opportunity for those with specialized experience in these functions.
For the degree of accountability, a director must have an unblemished career, strategic clarity, ability to ask tough questions with great tact, make critical decisions, to be comfortable with different viewpoints and build on what others say. This video of AIMS International can be illustrative.
In addition, you must have time. While each company is different, a board meeting can last 2-3 hours a month to a morning. Often, one must integrate a committee, which can carry 1 or 2 additional hours per month.
There are several steps you can take to improve your chances:
Do a reality check! Validate if you are really ready for the task, consult friends or acquaintances of high level, including directors and general managers. Talk about your interests, ask for their opinion and ask them what you should do to improve your chances. Also familiarize yourself with some of the questions you must answer as a director.
Go in steps! The Board of Directors of nonprofit organizations, associations, committees in the chambers of commerce and small and medium enterprises, are often an excellent stepping stone to learn how a Board of Directors works and to make yourself known. These positions can be pro bono, but learning paid for itself and you can include the experience on your resume.
Be visible! Susana Eléspuru, former VP and General Manager of Procter & Gamble and member of several renowned Boards of Directors, recommended to assume an active role and to make yourself known in the business community. She suggests you offer to be a speaker or panelist at forums or conferences, as this “gives great visibility and can compensate for someone to listen, invite you to be part of their Board of Directors or to refer you.”
Inform your network! Most positions on Boards of Directors are given for reference. Make sure your friends, former bosses, and, above all, business leaders know of your interest and your abilities. They could have fresh data, and recommend you to get to the decision maker. Also, make sure that your profile on business networks such as Linkedin reflects your executive experience, including achievements, awards and any pro-bono participation in Boards.
Study! Research and sign up for a course in senior management, corporate governance or similar in an institution of local prestige. This will give more weight to your resume. You can also explore courses abroad.
Be visible for headhunters! Although headhunters often require previous experience in the position, sometimes they receive commissions from companies which are interested in adding diversity, dynamism and expertise to their Boards. Make sure that they have your resume.