Why you shouldn’t choose yourself for your board

When building a board, regardless of whether it’s an advisory board or a board of directors, there are certain qualities and skills you should be looking for. Those skills and qualities would change depending on the business’ strategy, where it is in its life-cycle, and probably a few other factors.

The challenge is not to bring in a bunch of people just like you. Doing so would only amplify a single perspective and you wouldn’t get the benefit of diverse opinions and experience that are one of the biggest advantages of having an effective board.

Just think about it – imagine a boardroom full of lawyers, or accountants, or even risk-taking entrepreneurs. The more that they all have in common, the less likely you are to get good discussion, debates, and even disagreement, about key issues. There’s no use in everyone just nodding in agreement if it means you’re not giving enough consideration to different alternatives.

So when we say you shouldn’t choose yourself, we just mean that when you’re building a board, don’t fill it with people just like you. Aim for a diverse group of skills, experience, age, gender, whatever.

This obviously comes with some risk, but there is a way to remove most of the risk and make sure you get the benefits of the diverse perspectives that can make your business thrive. We’ll look at what that way is in an upcoming article.

In the meantime, have a look at the board members you’ve surrounded yourself with and ask yourself if there are enough different perspectives to help your business move in the best direction.