One of the big mysteries of business life for many executives is how to get on a corporate board. I have written in this space before about how often I am approached by aspirants to board service. Asked-for aid can be everything from guidance on navigating what seems like a Byzantine process of board selection to actual placement of an individual's CV into the hands of those who will be doing the selecting.
My chief piece of wisdom that I convey is that it is not "who you know" but "who knows you." And since I never send anyone away empty-handed, I provide several "How to Get on a Board" articles that we have published in Directors & Boards that are full of useful insights.
That is the back story to why "How to Get Appointed to a Board When You're Not a Household Name" is this issue's cover story (page 20). I carved the article out of John T. Montford and Joseph Daniel McCool's superb new book, Board Games: Straight Talk for New Directors and Good Governance. Straight talk is what John and Joe give the reader. "Unless you have wide name recognition ... you're not going to be openly solicited for board service," they write. And this: "There is no big 'easy' button to push for appointment to the boardroom. It is for this reason we committed to put together this roadmap for getting to the board appointment you want."
Raj Gupta extends that roadmap with his follow-on article, "Here Is What Makes a Director Well Suited for Board Service" (page 25). There is a lot of straight talk here too about the qualifications needed for board duty. Raj generously calls upon Jack Krol, with whom Raj served together on boards and whom Raj describes as his friend and mentor, to describe the ideal director candidate and sitting board member. Raj, a close colleague...