A seat at the corporate board table… it’s an aspiration for many leaders and for good reason.
Board service bundles together a host of rewarding experiences: the opportunity to be an “insider” and view, first hand, how another company works at its highest levels. You’ll also have the privilege to work beside and soak up the wisdom of the brightest, successful and most articulate professionals who will ever cross your path.
But there’s more. It is prestigious to serve on a corporate board, particularly when the firm is publicly-held and directors are elected by shareholders, rather than appointed by the CEO as in the case of private corporate boards. Another feature of boards of directors in large public companies is that the board tends to have more “defacto” power. Many shareholders grant proxies to the directors to vote their shares at general meetings and accept all recommendations of the board rather than try to get involved in management, since each shareholder’s power, as well as interest and information is so small.
My whip-smart friend and colleague, Bob Gutermuth, who consults with senior leaders in Fortune 100 firms, puts it this way: “If you think about a corporate board seat, it’s the “I made it” badge. It’s a seat at the top.”