Find external experts for your board

Find external experts for your board
Find external experts for your board

Originally published on October 25, 2022.

Few people are experts in all areas. Even the cumulative expertise in most companies could use the input of more experts from different areas. That’s why we have committees – expert committees in areas that fill the gaps in our existing knowledge base in the company.

But even when we find the right group of experts from our industry to join our board, we can still benefit from the wisdom of more diverse perspectives and experiences. Their different successes and failures become additional resources to develop more proven strategies in the face of new challenges.

External board members can bring a lot to a company. However, to find the right ones for the job, we need to know what to look for:

External experts bring more perspectives

Most companies (and boards of directors) still lack insight from people outside their industry. According to a Harvard Law School study, “Private company boards used to be dominated by management and investors, but today independent directors make up just over half (51%) of the average private board.

Board of Directors of the Company” A perfect marketing expert for a company could be someone from outside the company. Their experience could even be outside the company’s industry, but their fresh perspective could be just what the company needs to get their brand in front of the right audience. Their unbiased view can spot more of the company’s inefficiencies, identify bigger opportunities, and develop more innovative strategies.

This is also why diversity across race, gender, age, and socioeconomic background drives innovation. When we seek outside board members to fill talent gaps, a larger pool of inclusivity opens up. A 2020 Deloitte study found that women hold less than 23% of board seats at Fortune 500 companies, and minority men hold just 12%. But when these viewpoints are incorporated into a company’s leadership, it paints a complete picture of that company’s role in the economy and society at large. With this diversity of perspectives on our board, we position our company to be more innovative than most of our competitors and to be able to develop strategies even without them.

Look for strategic lateral thinkers

In addition to thinking outside the box and expanding diversity, two key traits make a quality outside board member: a strategic mind and out-of-the-box thinking. Of course, someone with both traits would be ideal, but someone with either will lead any company in the right direction. Strategic thinkers analyze multiple variables when creating plans to achieve goals and develop new ideas. They keep an eye on new opportunities while also considering pain points. They do this by asking lots of questions, welcoming feedback, and self-reflecting. They gather all the information they can before making decisions so they can make them decisively. With a strategic mind, even someone outside a company’s industry can see how their skills could be used in a new field.

Most of us unconsciously follow old ideas that have been born out of outdated ways of thinking, but lateral thinkers easily cross these boundaries. They imagine radically new possibilities, challenge the status quo and push the boundaries of what is possible. Instead of fearing change, they see it as a new opportunity. Lateral thinkers recognize how their perspective and experience in other industries can be beneficial for strategy development and innovation in a new industry.

When the risk is worth it despite a lack of industry experience

If you find a strategic or lateral thinker, the next step is to determine if they are a good fit for your board, especially if they do not have experience in your industry. If your company is planning mergers and acquisitions, get someone outside your industry with experience in mergers and acquisitions. If you are planning to expand your company

If you’re taking your company public, find an outside IPO expert. If you can find someone who has already done what your company needs to do in multiple industries, that’s an excellent indicator of their flexibility to enter your industry and excel.

Then try to identify the valuable skills that are applicable across industries: strategy and innovative thinking. Get to know their strategic mind. Ask about their area of ​​expertise and whether they have a strategic plan for growth and improvement. Uncover outside-the-box thinkers by getting them to explain how their skills are applicable to your industry. If you find the right people with the skills your company needs and the ability to pull ideas from different industries, that outside board member can be a key player in your company’s success.

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