Whom Would You Choose for Your Board of Directors?
I was at a networking event recently we were asked to identify the one person we would like to have on our Boards of Directors. The 40 people in the room kept their infomercials short and focused, and the selection of Board members proved to be an exercise that was fun, compelling and insightful.
Sports figures on the BOD: never satisfied with the status quo
I learned a lot about these people, mostly strangers, as they announced their new Board members and the reasons why they’d want this person on their team. The responses were all over the board. Some people mentioned their spouses—clearly people without imaginations. Others selected sports figures—Jerry Rice and Steph Curry, fierce competitors with strong work ethics who never stopped improving. Having these guys on your Board would mean they’d never be satisfied with the status quo and they’d always be scoping out the competition.
Former presidents would provide good connections
Not surprisingly, politics influenced many choices–Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt, the men credited with ending slavery and engineering the country’s emergence from the Great Depression. Having these former US Presidents on your Board would provide vision, some really great connections and a track record of accomplishment.
Elizabeth Warren: Someone who’s not afraid of her opinions
My choice? I have a few personal heroes. A longtime Giants fan, after last year’s World Series run I became a huge Madison Bumgarner admirer. Sports is full of athletes suffering from Endless Self-Promotion Disease, but MadBum simply goes out and does his job because everyone’s counting on him. Every Board needs someone who works hard and leaves the drama at home. In the end, I chose someone else I admire: Elizabeth Warren. A woman who clearly has opinions and is not afraid to share them, who gets involved, takes a stand and defends the little guy. Smart, vocal and fearless. I want Elizabeth Warren on my team.
A window into the lives others
Let’s face it—we want to know about the people with whom we’re going to be working—and that includes our colleagues. We’re interested in their politics, sports preferences and opinions. While we can talk about celebrating diversity, the reality is that we prefer to work with people who share some of our own interests and views. An exercise like this provides important windows into the lives of our colleagues and is a valuable networking activity.