Dear Annie: As controlling carnality admiral of animal assets at a midsize accomplishment company, I’ve served on a few bounded advance organizations’ boards of directors, additional one civic nonprofit board. I get a lot of achievement from alive with these organizations, and I’ve fabricated some admired contributions to their growth.
Now, I anticipate I’m accessible to accomplish the bound to a administration at a for-profit company, but I’m not abiding how to do that. I accept some networking contacts to whom I’ve mentioned my interest, and a brace of them accept anesthetized my resume forth to the nominating committees they are in blow with, but so far I don’t assume to be accepting anywhere. Do you or your readers accept any suggestions? (I am female, if that makes any difference.) — Accessible and Willing
Dear R.W.: Your actuality changeable does accomplish a difference, but added about that in a minute. First, anyone acquisitive to acreage a lath bench these canicule has to appear up with “a bright amount proposition,” says Ralph Ward, a longtime eyewitness of accumulated babyminding trends and administrator of online newsletter Boardroom Insider.
“Director searches accept afresh become a lot added specific and targeted,” he notes. “So you charge to anticipate about what affectionate of company, in which industry, and why you in particular. ‘I can accompany M&A due-diligence ability to a midsize tech company,’ for instance, is a lot added acute than simply, ‘I appetite to accompany a board.’”
Let’s accept you’ve already ample out what affectionate of lath you’d be best ill-fitted to sit on, and why. The resume you gave your networking contacts, if it’s the aforementioned CV you’d use to acreage addition controlling job, is not acceptable to do you abundant good. It may alike assignment adjoin you.
“The archetypal accomplishment-heavy controlling resume can coffin the board-specific nuggets beneath a accumulation of added achievements that are extraneous to what nominating committees attending for,” says Ward. “But best acclimatized chief managers do accept lots of the appropriate qualifications. It’s a amount of spelling them out.”
Start with your nonprofit directorships, aback you accept some. Forth with the dates you’ve served, acknowledgment “anything assuming a aisle of growth, abnormally any committees or one-off accomplishments that appearance your accomplishment in finance, strategy, turnarounds, fundraising, or any added specific breadth that’s accordant to the affectionate of lath you appetite to join,” Ward says.
Next, aught in on the accumulated acquaintance that can advice you the most, which comes in two types. The aboriginal is “board alternation experience, which shows that you’re accustomed and adequate with the boardroom environment,” and includes about any activity area you had break to assignment carefully with directors.
“As a manager, were you the communication for absolute and briefings on a acknowledged bearings or a abeyant acquisition, for example? Did you sit in on lath affairs to action your ability on a accurate issue, or were you consistently on the buzz with a lath chair?” If so, spell out your role “with as abundant detail as can be divulged,” Ward suggests. “Specificity impresses.”
The additional affectionate of acquaintance you charge to accent is what Ward calls centralized aggregation governance. “I’ve announced to any cardinal of accumulated admiral who appetite to sit on a lath but complaining their abridgement of boardroom background,” he says. “But it turns out they had served as a aggregation rep on a collective adventure committee, represented the aggregation with civic or all-embracing barter groups, formed with the firm’s banks on a above financing, or adjourned with activity unions.”
It all counts. “Sitting about a table to auspiciously assignment out high-stakes decisions and agreements is what ‘boardsmanship’ is all about,” Ward notes. “Again, accommodate as abundant detail as you can.”
Once you’ve anticipation aback and pinpointed which achievements in your career so far fit one or the added of those categories, says Ward, “go through your accepted resume with a highlighter and mark the accordant items.” Then annul aggregate away (except the barest acknowledgment of controlling titles and dates), and aggrandize the genitalia you’ve highlighted.
A brace of added suggestions: First, if you haven’t already done this, allocution with your boss. “Some CEOs or added admiral don’t appetite their absolute letters absent by a administration at addition company,” Ward notes. “Others don’t mind. But the two of you do charge to accept a heart-to-heart about it. He or she ability alike be a abundant ability in allowance you acreage a lath seat.”
And second, if you appear to allege with recruiters, “don’t balloon to acknowledgment that you’re absorbed in a lath seat,” says Ward. “Headhunters don’t accomplish abundant money on lath searches, against big-ticket CEO searches for example. Finding admiral is a accident baton for them. So if you can bead a applicable lath candidate” — that would be you — “in their laps, you ‘ll not alone be accomplishing them a favor, but you’ll accept a absolute advantage.”
Speaking of advantages, you’ll be blessed to apprehend that this is one bearings area actuality changeable is acceptable to assignment in your favor. “Getting added diversity, and added turnover, on big-company boards has been a antecedence for the accomplished few years,” Ward credibility out. After decades of actuality all but shut out of boardrooms, “qualified women now have, if anything, a bit of an edge.”
That’s alike added accurate in Europe than it is here, by the way. Aback abounding governments away accept imposed absolute quotas on changeable lath associates in accessible companies — 40% in Norway and Germany, for example, and a 30% “comply or explain” aphorism in the U.K. — there’s “a big charge for businesswomen who can serve,” Ward observes.
“It’s a absolute befalling for American changeable executives, abnormally in all-around companies, who accept able controlling condiment and accent skills.” Just article to accumulate in mind. Acceptable luck!
Talkback: If you’re a administrator of a accessible company, what helped you acreage your aboriginal lath seat? Leave a animadversion below.
Have a career catechism for Anne Fisher? Email [email protected]
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