Making the Move from Executive Management to the Boardroom
If you aspire to join a board of directors there are a number of steps that you should take prior to, and when preparing for, your transition to the boardroom. Choosing to become a director is not a career path that should be taken lightly; it needs care and consideration and should be well thought out. The role carries onerous legal responsibilities and so you must be confident that you have the appropriate skills, knowledge and expertise to execute your duties effectively.
Understand your duties
Of greatest importance for any aspiring director is a solid understanding of the duties and responsibilities of the role. Directors are expected to act, at all times, with honesty and integrity, to uphold high corporate governance standards and to meet their legal requirements under the Companies Act 2014 and all relevant legislation and regulation. As such, undertaking specific training for the role is highly recommended.
Consider your value
It is important to ensure that you are the right fit for the board and that you know what your value is and where your strengths lie. What specialist skills can you bring to meet the needs of the board and how can you positively contribute to both board effectiveness and organisational performance?
Getting your CV right
Your board CV should include a personal statement and should be tailored for each board position to outline what specific skills you can bring to the board in question. Focus on your key competencies and areas of speciality and provide details of relevant experience and any specific governance or director training which you may have undertaken.
Do your research
If you have already been asked to join a board, make sure you do your research before accepting the position. Before joining any board, you should carry out due diligence and satisfy yourself that there is no potential for conflict of interest. You should find out about the financial position of the organisation, its ethos and values, the dynamics of the board and how it operates, the time commitment involved and whether there is a board training and induction programme in place.
Build your network and your knowledge
Joining industry associations and business or online groups can assist you to build your network of contacts and to leverage the knowledge of your peers. Be open to learning from those around you and specifically from those who already have experience at board level. They will know better than anyone the pro and cons of holding a board position.
Find out more about the role and responsibilities of directors in the Directors’ Handbook, produced by the IoD and McCann FitzGerald and consider undertaking director training to build your knowledge and skills in preparation for the boardroom.