The big THREE when joining a board: Is it good for you, the board and the organisation?
Before making the commitment of joining a committee or board, whether you have been asked to join or have put yourself forward, there are certain things you need to think about for ensuring the best interest of everyone involved.
One question to ask yourself before joining a board or committee would be, what are your motivating factors? It could be that you grew up in a family that was heavily involved in different committees so you had the influence of a strong focus on what you could contribute back to your community or various organisations. It could be that you seek out a board or committee you see that may not be functioning as efficiently as it could and, without pushing a personal agenda, you feel like you could make improvements and achieve better outcomes. These are just some examples of motivating factors that could lead you to want to be involved.
Another aspect to consider before making the commitment to join is asking important questions about what your involvement will be and how the board or committee operates. Committees and sports clubs can be very hands-on with the day-to-day functions, whereas being a part of a board could involve being more of a decision making and strategic role. You could ask yourself whether you feel you could add value based on the organisation’s objectives and what it was setting out to achieve. Asking what challenges the organisation as faced is an important question. Another point to raise is to find out how open they are to change. In this case, seeing what kind of appetite the organisation has for improvement is key.
Knowing whether an organisation is a good fit for you is important. If you are a person that likes continual improvement, would an organisation that likes to keep things as they are be the best for both of you?
Something else to consider doing if you have been a part of a committee or board before, is to reflect on any challenges you may have faced or any obstacles you overcame. This is a good way to adapt and learn from those experiences. There can be situations where different personalities come into play, especially on boards with a strong social value attached and board members who are quite passionate. A difference of opinion isn’t always a bad thing, but always remember to be mindful of your own contributions and behaviours so you can park your emotions and think critically. This way, you can learn and integrate with other members moving forward.
There is a lot to know before joining a board, but the key takeaway here is to actively seek to understand the organisation, what is expected of you as a board member, and the time commitment required. Take the time and do your due diligence to make sure you get all the information you need so that you can be sure it is the best decision for you, the board and the organisation.
This blog is based predominantly on the information given during our Law in Life Series, Episode Two: So, you have been asked to join a Board? Watch the full show here.