Board service can be professionally, intellectually, and sometimes financially rewarding. Over the ten years I have served on public company boards, people have often asked me, how did you get / find a public company board to join? But that's really the wrong question.
The better question is what do you have to contribute and who can benefit from your skills and experience. The "who do you know?" of years past has become "what do you know?" as well as "who do you know?"
Today's boards are frequently selecting new directors based on assessments of the skills and experience existing directors believe the board needs to add to perform effectively.
For example, Citigroup recently added two new directors to strengthen the board's technology and financial oversight functions. ARIAD just announced the addition of a prominent clinical research scientist, and Hologic recently recruited the former chairman and CEO of a leading biomedical testing company. And chemistry, or fit, will always be an important consideration when recruiting a new director.
So what are boards looking for these days?
A recent article published on the Harvard Business Review Blog Network listed the following top three commonly missing skill sets based on a global survey of more than 1,000 corporate directors:
- HR-Talent management
suggesting a greater focus of director recruiting in these areas going forward.
They would join three other prized skill sets still sought by boards:
- Industry knowledge
Director candidates offering two or more of these attibutes will be highly sought after.