One of the things we learned from our National Conversation on Board Diversity on 12/12/12 is that people want more tactical information on how to get on a board of directors. So, just how do you crack the code? Here are a few tips to get you going. Make it part of your New Years' resolution!
1. Make your intentions known: Work your network, identifying those who are most likely to be in a position to help. Friends, business associates, industry contacts, and your boss may be in a position to help you open the right doors. It's all about whom you know and who knows you are interested in being on a corporate board. If you serve on non-profits, fellow board members could be included in your search.
2. Think about industries you know about and identify companies in those industries: Know your strengths and stick to what you know. Identify companies in the industry and closely related fields: your target list. Start with companies close to home, and expand the search from there. If you've had board experience, it may be easier to land a seat on a larger company board. But if you're a newbie, smaller, local companies will be easier.
3. Make a short list of directors: Once you have your target list, identify the directors on those company boards. Then work your network. Look to see if you know any of the directors on the boards. If you don't, the people in your network might. That's your short list.
4. Communicate your interest: Contact the people on your short list. Try to set up a meeting, preferably a lunch meeting. Express your interest. Ask for support. Be prepared.