Not everyone has the opportunity to serve on the board of large multi-national companies or publicly traded firms but that does not mean that you cannot reap the benefits which serving in a board provides for your career. Non-Profit organisations, trade associations and other smaller companies are usually a good place to start and they provide all the essential benefits similar to serving on the board of larger companies. Some of the merits of serving on a board whether large or small include; building your network, boosting your career, giving you experience, providing an additional source of income, boosting your profile and ultimately giving you the opportunity to make a difference.
In a study conducted by Harvard Business Review, it was shown that serving on a board increases the likelihood of an executive becoming a CEO, to be promoted or getting a salary increase. The research further revealed that serving in a board increases the chances of being promoted as a first time CEO to an S&P 1500 firm by 44%, and also the chances of getting a pay rise increases by 13% even if they do not get promoted. The simple fact is serving on a board offers you the opportunity to acquire and develop invaluable professional skills that will go a long way to help you rise higher in your career. Skills such as public speaking, leadership and networking are readily acquired in a board. You will also be able to learn about financial reporting, market analysis and strategic planning firsthand.
Develop your Network
While working on the advisory boards or as a director, you are exposed to several business leaders, skilled, talented and experienced individuals, who are really the type of folks you want in your network. One of the essential benefits of working on a board is that you get to be around people who are maybe more success driven. Your participation in board meetings provides you with the opportunity to add value professionally to any project and campaign embarked on which in turn opens doors to new business leads, clients and other valuable contacts.
A strong network of board members open new frontiers to future career opportunities, link you with a larger circle of contacts and maybe even add value to you personally. ‘The future is not written in stone’. Having very useful people in your network may prove invaluable in the long-run.
Opportunity to Make a Difference
One of the selfless reasons why you should be on a board is that you actually get to make a difference. Many Non-Profit and charity organisations have on their boards some professionals who have used their skills, experience and talents for the greater good by enriching the lives of many. Typically, these professionals are able to contribute immensely to local residents or communities based on some specific projects they are very passionate about. They can also help raise funds. Serving in the board of a Non-Profit organisation gives you a strong voice to make a real difference and also when you are a member of the board in any company you have a say in how the business is run and all its policies.
While it is true that not all those working on boards get paid such as with Non-Profit organisations, there are however, board members of small and large companies who get supplementary income. This typically is not a golden ticket to retirement but at least there is adequate compensation for your work. Additionally, many board members enjoy free travel, meals, accommodation, registration expenses for seminars and annual conferences. It is a great honour and privilege to serve on a board, and now is the time for next generation directors to take a seat at the table.
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