Answering why a board wants you

The Essential Question for Prospective Board Members

In the work that I do with Board candidates in preparing their Bios, one of the most important discussions that we have centers on “Why does a Board (and/or a particular Board) want you?” Ultimately, Board candidates must be able to communicate their potential contributions as a member of a collaborative team in the context governance, strategy, policy, organizational leadership selection and oversight and risk management. Will the person, among other things, add value to the group’s decision making.

Guiding Principle: Ultimately, the Board members want to confident that the selected candidate will be “worthwhile to listen to” because…. Can be counted on to….

Turns out that only a few of my clients have entertained this question, much less developed a compelling answer. A good answer to this question taps into the emotional component (“worthwhile”) backed up by an articulate (and short) proof of concept. A strong answer (to this question whether asked or by inference) will help bond the candidate and the interviewer(s) and provide a framework presenting the prospective board member as a person who should get a seat at the table.

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