Board Success in 2023 – prepare now

Board Success in 2023

As 2022 draws to a close, it is time to reflect on your board career plan. If you have yet to gain a board seat, now is the time to reset and prepare for board success in 2023.  

Reassess your board career plan

Start by looking at what you achieved or didn’t achieve in 2022. Write down your thoughts and observations. Look for patterns. Where in the board appointment process have you experienced successes or failures? Determine what you are doing right and where you are experiencing issues or obstacles.

My experience is that success or failure in gaining a board seat comes down to getting 3 things right.

  1. Aspiration – being resolute and realistic about your board aspirations, to the extent that you can list organizations you want and can serve on their board or committees.
  2. Articulation – having a board pitch that separates you from others. You must be able to articulate the reason you should be appointed to those boards and committees you aspire to.
  3. Application – understanding how you will most likely be appointed. Then make an action plan to get there.

Checklist for a board success in 2023

There are several items you should focus on now to increase your chances of board success in 2023.

ITEM 1: Define your board aspirations and goals

Use this time, at the year, to set or re-set your board aspirations. Ask yourself :

  • Are your aspirations realistic at this stage in your professional and board career?
  • Were you unsuccessful in 2022 because you focused on the wrong board seats?
  • If your 2022 board aspirations were not achievable, ask yourself why and what you can do to succeed in 2023.

Finally, write a new set of board goals for 2023.

ITEM 2 – Consider your executive career

Take some time to consider where a board role in 2023 fits in your executive career goals. Taking a board seat will take time away from your executive and family commitments. There is also a time and emotional commitment to find and gain that board seat. Keep in mind that the rewards of serving on a board or committee are substantial, both professionally and personally.

If you already have a board seat, you should be considering another. Those that hold multiple directorships are proven adopters of sound business practices and support innovation across organizations and industries.

ITEM 3: Refresh your professional brand

Your professional brand has to include your board level (or strategic) achievements and board aspirations. You never know who may be that vital connection to a board seat.

Now is the time to write or refresh your board profile. It is then essential that you can pitch it confidently. Do you know your value at board level and where it fits in the board marketplace? You must be memorable and able to separate yourself from the competition.

Your Board CV is also a part of your professional brand. It should be quite different from your Executive CV. If you don’t have one, writing this document may help refine your unique skill sets and define your professional brand. If you have one, ensure it is up to date or could benefit from a refresh.

ITEM 4: Looking for board roles

Based on your board aspirations, you should look for appropriate board opportunities and sources of board roles. If you are looking for board success in 2023, you must be present and active on LinkedIn. Many organizations and most search firms will use LinkedIn to find potential candidates and advertise board vacancies. 

Aspiring board directors say that finding suitable board roles is one of the most time-consuming parts of the process. This is because 75-80% of board vacancies are not advertised. My How to Unlock Board Opportunities masterclass will teach you how to find them.

ITEM 5: Start Networking 

Make sure your networking efforts are consistent, sustained, and meaningful. Take some to analyse, revise, refresh, and reconnect with your networks. Tell people you are looking for a board appointment. 

ITEM 6: Create a practical action plan

Accountability is one of the main reasons why many fail. Some of you will look back at 2022 and agree that this is where they failed. They started the year with excitement and enthusiasm, only to have life or a lack of motivation get in the way. 

Gaining a board appointment is a process that takes time and perseverance. You need a forward-thinking plan broken down into achievable tasks and steps. Include potential risks to avoid or roadblocks and how to get around them. Actively work on your plan regularly, and spend your time wisely. You need to build in accountabilities. Prioritise weekly tasks, assign time in your calendar, and review your action plan quarterly. Have a plan for the next 12 months, with tasks to complete weekly and monthly.

In summary

If you are looking for a board seat next year, now is the time to prepare. You need clearly defined goals, a board-focused professional profile, and an action plan. Your plan should be focussed and implementable, covering three core elements of the board appointment process – Aspiration, Articulation and Application.

If you are serious about board success in 2023 and gaining a board seat, my Board Appointment Program will help you through the entire process. You will build a comprehensive action plan that is right for you.

About the Author

David Schwarz is CEO & Founder of Board Appointments. He has over a decade of experience in putting people on boards as an international headhunter and recruiter. He has interviewed hundreds of directors and placed hundreds into some of the most significant public, private and NFP director roles in the world.

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