Testing your Readiness

My Readiness Audit is simple to take, but don’t let that fool you! It’s been carefully designed from my deep research and first-hand board experience. I’ve interviewed scores of sitting board directors and professionals such as attorney and recruiters that serve corporate boards.

It won’t take long. Probably 5 to 7 minutes. You’ll get an instant snap-shot of your readiness and what you should do about it. During this assessment you will be asked to respond to thirteen questions. Please keep in mind that the final section is my way of gathering demographic research and not an attempt to invade your privacy. I sincerely appreciate your participation!



See how you did:

Under 10 : Not Ready
Board work is not for me (at least at this time.)

11- 30 : On the right track
I’m still debating whether corporate board service is right for me. It’s a big commitment and I'll need more guidance.

31-39 : Full speed ahead
I’m corporate board material. I’m ready for the challenge and prepared to take the next step.

  • Do you truly have the capacity and time to serve?
    Saying “yes” to a seat can carry a commitment of five to ten years. In fact, it’s not unusual to serve for ten years, or more. This includes attending on average, six to eight meetings a year (and the travel to and from the meetings), serving on at least one committee, and being ‘on call’ when unexpected issues arise.
  • Is compensation a secondary motive for corporate board service?
    If your board service motivation is driven by money, think again. There are probably far easier ways to earn it. Board service should ideally happen when you are financially stable, and do not “need” the fees or stock.
  • Are you well-informed on board director liability and risks?
    Officers and directors of public companies always face the possibility that their decisions will be challenged by investors, regulators, and even criminal prosecutors. This increased scrutiny makes it more important than ever to understand the obligations and potential liabilities of public board service. Example
  • Do you think like an entrepreneur?
    The very best and most successful companies in America ( 3M, for instance) have always managed to maintain that spirit no matter how big they became. It infuses them with a quick-response capability, and with an openness to entirely new ideas.
  • Are you financially literate?
    Financial acuity is essential as a board director. While you don’t have to be a Chief Financial Officer or an accountant, you must have the know-how to analyze financial statements. Enron and other corporate scandals drove legislation to ensure this.
  • Are you a natural mentor and overseer?
    The role of a director is very different from that of an operating executive who is accustomed to “running the show.” Most director time is spent reviewing and assessing strategy, risk, financial reporting and management performance. Aspiring board members should be comfortable in the role of mentoring management.
  • Can you bring valuable contacts and connections to the table?
    Directors are expected to make their network of problem solvers available to management. Do you have a wide network, especially in your field of expertise, and are you generously willing to share them?
  • Do you naturally bring humor to stressful situations?
    Great board members, like great leaders, have a sense of humor and know how to have fun. But they intuitively understand the rules of humor and don’t have fun at someone else's expense. Instead, they make light of themselves.
  • Do you like to dig deep for insight?
    Ongoing attention, research and preparation are essential traits of successful board directors.
  • Are you a team player?
    A team player is generally described as one who communicates constructively, demonstrates reliability, works as a problem-solver, treats others in a respectful and supportive manner, shows commitment to the team and is skilled at building on the ideas of others. Are these your strong suits?
  • Are you upbeat and optimistic?
    An optimistic mindset enables a board director to view a conflict as a problem to be solved. Rather than focus on blame, they focus on solutions. Boards need this mindset to avoid gridlock and to move the firm forward. Would your colleagues describe you in these terms?
  • Are you willing to speak up about sensitive topics?
    Boards depend on directors who not only speak up about sensitive topics, but are skilled in framing their points in a honest, confident, respectful and positive manner. In making these types of remarks, it’s especially important to show respect for the work of the team. Does this kind of diplomacy come naturally to you?
  • Can you cast the lone vote?
    Are you capable of casting the lone “no” vote?  Can you do so even when your vote is clearly out-of-step with valued colleagues? 
  • What best describes you?
    (Mark all that apply.)

“There are three things extremely hard: Steel, a Diamond, and to know one’s self.”


After filling out the questionnaire above, we’ll email our recommendation for your pursuit of a board seat. Please add jill@jillgriffin.net to your address book.