For Impact


Board Seat Not Necessary

Leadership and Boards | | Nick Fellers

A quick learning point that comes from a lot of the sales training and coaching around maximizing relationships.

Re: Prospect Strategy – Joining the board is not a pre-requisite for maximizing a relationship.

You should complete a customized prospect strategy (including goals) for each of your top prospects. When I bring this up in a workshop I’m commonly asked, “Should we first try to see if he/she would like to be on our board?”

That’s not a goal OR a strategy that I’m satisfied with. To me, trying to get someone on the board is a tactic that usually has nothing to do with the real goal which is to maximize the relationship at any given time.

Remember, getting someone ‘on THE board’ should not be the goal. My real issue is that I think it represents the wrong way of thinking. Instead, frame your strategy around getting the prospect ON BOARD with your cause / case.

I believe that if you’re with a qualified prospect the dialogue will not be about a board seat … it will be about HOW to deliver the impact.

For more clarity:

  • My point is not about whether or not someone should join the board but rather that you don’t need to be ‘on the board’ to be ‘on board’.
  • I’ve heard far too many stories about strategies that have involved ‘trying to get someone on the board’ as a first step in a relationship. Some of you have spent years trying to get prospects on your board. And then …
  • We think getting them on the board somehow makes them on board.

Think about how this idea applies to your organization. By way of a challenge I want to encourage some of you to re-frame your strategies. Where as you could spend years trying to get someone on your board, I believe some of your best prospects are already on board–with your cause … so go visit, share your story, and present an opportunity to help).

Note from the field: As one great community leader / champion recently put it, “I’m on enough boards already. I’ll help in anyway I can but I’m busy and quite frankly, most boards make me bored.”