How to recruit a Board of Directors, continued

June 5, 2017

A recent article in Forbes offers excellent advice for recruiting a board of directors – in the form of the Top 10 Questions High Performance Directors Ask Before Joining a Board.

We think looking at the subject from that point of view is a very useful exercise that can help entrepreneurs with one of their most critical tasks.  Here’s how we ourselves once put it, in a 2012 post entitle How to recruit a Board of Directors:

While the “owners” of public companies often get to pick their board members more in theory than in practice, owners of private companies get to pick both their investors and their board members. Choosing partners who best fit over the long term requires as much rigor and thoughtfulness as any decision an entrepreneur makes.

Many small private companies have no or underdeveloped boards.  We encourage all our portfolio companies to build great boards and then use them constantly.  Entrepreneurs are almost always surprised how much value a good board can bring to their companies, and the best boards are a function of both the quality of the people involved and, just as importantly, how they operate.

We encourage you to read the entire Forbes piece, but for our purposes we chose 2 of the 10 and offer a handful of supporting links to related posts here at NVSE.

2. Will your management team be open to listening to board level input? Is resistance futile? Is dissent embraced in discussion?

Recruiting strong board members gives an entrepreneur the opportunity to create an environment of mutual accountability in which team members trust and challenge each other and compensate for the all-too-human tendency to learn only after it’s too late.

7. Does your company have institutional or professional systems and processes in place? Does the machine run smoothly, or is it held together with chewing gum?

While professional systems and processes are (of course) required to grow a high-growth company out of the garage, it’s also important for leadership to remember to also build the ‘robust social systems’ in which board members’ informal modus operandi ensure that all those well-designed systems function properly.

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