Maximizing Your Value from Day One: Crucial Tips for New Board Members

new board members taking notes

Even directors who’ve been on a board for years can find it challenging to meet expectations and make a positive impact in their role.

As such, we fully appreciate the obstacles faced by anyone who’s recently become a board member. Of course, the positives of this role vastly outweigh the negatives, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a tricky learning curve to navigate.

Getting started on the right foot is crucial when establishing one’s legacy as a productive force on a board of directors.

So, follow the tips below and learn some approaches that’ll ease those initial butterflies:

Know the Organization, Inside-And-Out

It’s incredible how quickly board members catch on when they have a vast understanding of the overall procedures and culture of their organization.

Coming in like a completely blank slate makes new members look ill-prepared and can slow down productivity during meetings.

Read any mission statements and operations handbooks. Examine the company’s financial status and liability insurance. Also, take time to assess the structure of the board. And take in-depth notes on all of these topics.

Ask for documents such as annual reports, up-to-date financial statements, brochures, and a list of all board members. Plus, look up the CEO and other key executives and board members on LinkedIn.

Know Your Role

Starting on a board of directors is understandably overwhelming for most individuals.

Given the nature of this massive jump in stature, one might neglect to firmly establish what’s expected of them in their new role.

It’s highly unlikely for a board member to be a quality addition if they’re unaware of what they’re supposed to do.

For the most part, these responsibilities revolve around care, diligence, skill, elevated expectations of conduct, and preparation.

Always Support Your Board

A successful board of directors – in some ways – can resemble a healthy marriage. For example, just like a husband and wife, board members aren’t going to agree on everything. But no matter the final decision on a given topic, all parties end up on the same page.

So, new board members will find there are motions passed or resolutions reached of which they weren’t in favor. In these cases, these individuals must remember to stand by their board, no matter what. Otherwise, it’ll lead to petty infighting and disharmony that only proves to hinder productivity.

Be Active from the Start

Just because a director is a fresh face in the board room, there’s no excuse for being a shrinking violet with no input.

From the very beginning, review board packets and any other materials passed out before the meetings (ideally through your BoardMaps app). Taking this kind of initiative and aiming to make an impact from day one will garner the respect of other members and get board newbies fully invested right away.

Remember that You Belong

Most people in the world experience at least a little bit of imposter syndrome. Starting out on a board will definitely conjure those feelings. New board members need to remind themselves that there’s a reason that they’ve been selected for this position.

On top of staying confident, just follow the rest of these tips. Then, your tenure on the board of directors will begin with a flourish!