Thursday, March 1, 2012

Seven Best Practices for Cultivating New Board Members

Recently, I’ve noticed that when I ask CEOs or board chairs about the soft spots in their governance practices, “Board Recruitment” keeps popping up. Recruiting the right people onto the board bus must be a high priority for boards. As the board goes, so goes the organization.

I suggest that boards think about the recruitment process in four phases: Cultivation, Recruitment, Orientation and Engagement.

Here are seven best practices in the Cultivation Phase. Can you give an unqualified “YES” to each statement?

#1. We are crystal clear about who owns the responsibility for new board member recruitment.
#2. We don’t short-change the process. We may need to invest 18 to 36 months in cultivating and recruiting new board members—and we are proactive on this year-round.
#3. Focused prayer and spiritual discernment are at the heart of our cultivation and recruitment process.
#4. We follow the best practice of “dating” a board prospect—over an appropriate period of time—before “proposing marriage.”
#5. We value passion over position.  A prospect’s resume (or title) is not as important as his or her documented passion for our ministry.
#6. We have a written “pathway to the board” checklist that we follow which includes significant reference checks and due diligence.
#7. We ensure that a board prospect’s spouse, family (and sometimes employer) is aware of the “time, talent and treasure” requirements of board service.

Short-change the Cultivation Phase and you’ll short-change your governance.

Question: What other statement would characterize a best practice in the Cultivation Phase of Christ-honoring board recruitment?

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