Should you be on a board of directors or should you decline?

You have been approached to be on a board. You are flattered! However, should you accept?  Here are five Questions to ask yourself.

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You are flattered! However, should you take it? There is a lot to consider as you weigh the time, personal investment, and—at times—risk. We have five tips for evaluating a board position to make sure it is right for you.

  •     What is your connection to the organization? Being on a board involves significant time and effort. You should only consider board appointments if you are passionate about the mission of the team.
  •     How much time do you have? An excellent opportunity at the wrong time is an unfortunate opportunity. Consider the amount of time you have to devote to the work involved as well as your availability to travel.  
  •     What else will flourish? Does serving on a board fit in with the other career goals you are currently pursuing? Are you seeking to develop more in-depth and more varied connections? There can be specific benefits from serving on board. One study “found that serving on a board increases an executive’s likelihood of being promoted to a first-time CEO to an S&P 1500 firm by 44%—and even if they were not promoted...serving boosts an executive’s subsequent annual pay by 13%.”
  •     What else will suffer? Be honest about what other things you will have to shift to invest in a board position. Cutting back on a hobby may be worth the experience of being on board; however, if your job or family commitments will get short-changed, you should reconsider. 
  •     What do other board members have to say? Talk with a current board member about the board’s functioning. How much time does the commitment require? Does the board work well together? What do they enjoy most about being on the board? What are the most significant challenges facing the board?

 A board appointment is an exciting opportunity to hone your communication and leadership skills while investing in an organization. If your deliberation leads you to the conclusion that this is not the right time, communicate to the team that you would be interested in the future, but you are not currently able to serve. Whether you accept or decline, be sure to thank them for the opportunity.
 

Cheryl Hyatt

With over 20 years of executive-search consulting experience, Cheryl Hyatt has been responsible for successfully recruiting senior-administrative professionals for educational and non-profit organizations.