Before Your First Board Meeting
Starting a new directorship means you may be confronted with a range of challenges. They might include getting to know a group of new people or an unknown culture. Since new directors lack a window to see into how a particular board works, here are few areas of focus to help create early success:
Know the people: Learn each director’s background and ask about their priorities for the company. Do the same with the CEO. Be very clear on your colleague--centric fit with the other directors.
Know the board’s ecosystem: Every board has its own culture, or ecosystem. Don’t be unaware of these dynamics and the power relationships among board members and management. Ask each director and the CEO their view of the board’s culture.
Know how you are viewed: It is important to know who pushed the vote to go your way. These are often very competitive situations, and someone on the board thought you were the best candidate. Find out who and why. Then look to see how this person fits into the board’s ecosystem. Chances are you will be seen or affiliated with the board in the same way. (In time you will make your own identity.)
Being an exceptional director is both an art and a science. Remember that achieving excellences is a process, a journey, not an ultimate destination. For more information, see: New Director Board Due Diligence ($9.99 Amazon, B/N and iBookstores)