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Foster Relationships
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Step 5 of 8 to Join a Board of Directors: Foster Relationships

In our continuing series about finding a seat on a board of directors, we now discuss networking with an intention. Yes, you will also be doing the common networking at business functions. It is useful. It allows you to practice expressing your intentions and focusing your language to express it as succinctly as possible. Frankly, this is less of a connection than described above in Connect with Twelve Strategic Colleagues. You are casting a wider net. At the end of the day, this is a people process.

The opportunity to be on a board with a vacancy is known by a handful of people related to that board who must find you through their connections. So get out there and foster relationships with people who currently sit on company boards. The more people you can foster relationships with and state your intentions, the more likely the outcome of your desires. Read more about successful networking at 10 Tips for Successful Networking.

Your time is a scarce resource. Target your time at business events that will include CEOs, CFOs, directors, and service firms that cater to boards such as investment bankers, legal firms and accountants/audit firms.

Focus your efforts here:

1. Review the organizations you belong to or participate in today. Can you focus your efforts? Drop or add organizations that may be more useful to you in your board search.
2. Are you in a leadership position in a networking group? Can you influence the agenda topics or speakers and bring in those who can speak about board governance or issues and topics discussed in today’s board room?
3. Consider the people in your network. Who in your network sits on a board of directors? What is their story? How did they achieve their first board seat? What connections were vital to them as they were being hired? What advice do they have for you?
4. Start by targeting one event to network each week. Decide if that is too much or too
little after one month; then adjust your schedule.

Read more about being a non-executive director.

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