Board Savvy August 1, 2018

Journey Tip of the Month—August 2018

By Nancy Sheppard Chief Journey Advisor

Launching Your Board Journey? Create a Go-to-Market Strategy that Works.

As you announce to the world (or at least to your key connections) that you’re looking for a corporate board seat, have you strategized how you Go-to-Market? You ARE the product that customers (the board, CEO, recruiter, and referrals) will closely examine to see how you compare to others who are also vying for those coveted leadership positions.

At the Athena Alliance, I start off the first of 12 sessions a member receives with our “Journey Advisor Team,” who consult with members on their path in our program, with this GTM analogy of getting you ready for launch. I caution aspiring board members to avoid using the fabled “Shoot, Aim, Ready” approach to networking and asking for connections to boards before you are comfortable with a comprehensive strategy for the marathon which may ensue in the search for the right board(s).

During these 1:1 sessions, our team takes the deep dive into how you will be seen by those who are board influencers. When ready, your Market Launch will detail what you can offer to specific types of companies and boards. Among the many decisions you should explore include examining the structure, size, products, lifecycle, and appropriate industries for your experiences. As you build allies for your board search, we help you strategically identify industries and companies that will be the best fit for you based on your goals and passions in pursuing a board seat. These are just the basics of a comprehensive plan (a marathon for many) to end up with the right fit for a board.

This targeting tends to be a challenge for many people. While you don’t want to limit your ability to learn about opportunities that might not be in your exact plan, using your carefully drafted board documents (bio and CV) and your pitch and stories to direct those who want to refer you to openings is wise.

One of the tools I use to assist candidates is a board journey-planning questionnaire. A recent discussion using this approach with lawyer who has extensive Silicon Valley start-up and digital experience, resulted in earmarking her passion for music (and her Julliard training) and setting her sights on companies in the technology based entertainment and arts footprint. Focusing on your passions, combined with how your experiences can add value in this space, is a good step as you narrow down building allies for your board search.

If stepping into a corporate board seat is a new career step goal, the process can be daunting. But, as a leader, you’ve been involved in strategy and planning for most of your business life, so you know that you don’t go-to-market for a new product until the entire team is comfortable with a fully explored and detailed plan. Treat your board journey launch with this same due diligence approach before you begin the promotion stage of networking and visibility enhancement marketing “YOU as a board-ready and board-qualified product” to your target audience!

Get a sneak peak at the Athena member journey in our monthly journey tips series. Interested in becoming an Athena Alliance member to get board-ready through our curated and experienced community? Take our board readiness self assessment today.