Access an Infographic on How to stand out as a #BoardLeader and Subject Matter Expert
I recently spoke at a conference for Women Executives from the Young Presidents Organization (#YPO) in Los Angeles. The key topic focused on how these very accomplished women could accelerate their path to more engaging board opportunities. #YPO is the premier global leadership organization for more than 27,000 chief executives in over 130 countries. This one-day conference was held in Los Angeles and brought together an amazing group of attendees and accomplished speakers including female members who are currently serving on boards and other board and diversity experts.
The topics at the conference focused on how the attendees could accelerate their path to more engaging board opportunities. As part of my presentation I provided the attendees with an analysis of their current board bios, how they were positioning their expertise and accomplishments, and ways they could standout as a #BoardLeader. This is something that our team often does for ABA Board Candidates and we go into depth with participants in our #BoardAcceleratorProgram.
On average ABA invites over 300 executives every year to participate in our unique candidate assessment process so we see a lot of different styles of positioning statements, board bios, and networking strategies that are utilized by executives. Many of these executives are already accomplished Board Executives that serve on multiple boards. While all of these executives are highly accomplished, we see many common mistakes that are being used by most executives in their board bios and positioning statements. These mistakes will cause you to extend the time it takes for youto find the right opportunity that is most engaging for you and possibly reducethe chances that you will be selected for great opportunities. The impressive executives that I met at the YPO Women in Business Conference were making similar mistakes.
Something to consider is that normally you are not the only candidate being considered for an open board seat and while you are a highly accomplished executive with a lot of value you can provide to an organization’s board, so are the other candidates. Even if you have a personal relationship with the CEO, Shareholder, or Chairperson of an organization, it is rare that they are not relying on others for their input in the selection process. Point is, you are going to have to put some thought into how you are going to stand out from these other highly qualified candidates and avoid many of the mistakes that we see.
Some of more common mistakes include;
- Utilizing your resume as your Board Bio –Many executives utilize a Board Bio or brief that is an expansion of their resume and they may also include a standard resume. This is not the most effective way to communicate what makes you a great #BoardLeader.
- Use of “fluff” or “buzz” words in the description – being a “strategic thinker” or a “proven executive” is kind of like saying you have a great sense of humor, it is something that everyone can claim and most people do. Using these phrases does not make you unique and you will not stand out to CEO’s who are looking for experts, not generalists.
- Lack of consistency about Expertise – we see many executives that claim to have one set of skills on their board bio and yet a whole different set of skills online (i.e. LinkedIn, etc). So which is it?
- Too Long – lose the accomplishments and accolades in High School!!! Your most recent experiences are normally the most valuable to an organization so eliminate the things you did over a decade ago. Keep it short or no one is going to read it.
- General Skill Sets – no offense but no one can be an expert at everything M&A or Healthcare so stop using statements like “M&AExpert” or “Healthcare Expert” because it is difficult to believe.
- Make it personal – you need to tell a story about how you can specifically add value to a board and how you have come to acquire these skills. A timeline of where you have worked and your various titles do not communicate this effectively. Tell a short story.
By eliminating these common issues, you will highlight the value, passion, and expertise you can provide to any board. We have developed a simple Infographic that highlights Five steps you can implement to accelerate your path to boards and eliminate some of the common mistakes we see. If you would like to download a copy of this infographic please fill out the following form.