Tips for Aspiring Independent Directors

Some Aspiring Directors who read this might question my credentials to be to qualified to provide tips for Aspiring Independent Director, as I too am an Aspiring Independent Director.

We all know that the bees visit various plants and collect nectar from plants and after secretion it becomes honey and stores in honey comb. In a similar way, I have attended several workshops , Summits, Online meetings over zoom and other platforms, and read various messages in whatsapp , linkedin and other social media. I have compiled few tips that was echoed by several Independent Directors and Mentors who were asked to provide advise to Aspiring Independent Directors.

Tip 1 - Identify your circle of competence.

In recent times, Organizations are facing various challenges in specific domain. So an Aspiring Independent Director can be chosen either for his competence due to having experience and skill sets that can be used across several industries , for eg HR or Audit. Alternatively, he can be selected for experience and wisdom in a particular industry but who also has general business acumen across the domain. For eg if he is from banking industry, then he could be selected due to experience in working in various Departments which include but not limit to retail banking, loan servicing, commercial banking, mortgage banking, etc.

Tip 2 - Establish a Professional Social Image.

As an Aspiring Independent Director, it is very important that the Director realizes that online branding is critical. Although many Social Networking sites were started for purpose of casual socializing, today many Organizations are using that as a tool to find out more about prospect Candidate.

According to a recent online poll conducted by Robert Walters, about 74% of respondents agree that it is critical to maintain a professional image online, particularly on personal social networking sites.

Companies we have spoken to also agree that they frequently use it as a tool to gauge a Candidate or employee’s professionalism and if their images are reflected appropriately online. In addition, some employers also use it as an effective social monitoring tool. Social networking sites have grown to become an inevitable part of the hiring process and it is common for employers to use it to find information on a job seeker which is not usually seen on a CV.

Also it is important to have a professional DP in your WhatsApp. I cannot imagine an Aspiring Director , who has his pet's picture on DP , being called by the Board to discuss of a possible position as a Director. 

Tip 3- Avoid highlighting passing of proficiency test in your Profile/Resume.

Passing of proficiency test is not really something to boast about. Just as a CA will not boast of his B. Com degree but simply notify where required, for an Aspiring Director, to be selected, it would be assumed any which way that the Aspiring Director have cleared the proficiency test.

Tip 4- Make networking a habit.

Although the saying "Your network is your net worth " appears true in almost every walk of life, it has never been more apt for Aspiring Independent Directors. 

As an Aspiring Director getting started, your network is very valuable. The more people you know, and the more influential they are, the quicker you are likely to succeed in your goal of becoming an Independent Director.

Aspiring Independent Directors need to connect online and offline and spend at least 6-8 hours a week in networking. Ideally, they should network with Company Promoters, CEOs, CS, MD and Chairman of as many public companies as possible.

Tip 5 -Have one or more Mentors.

Just as they say that in the spiritual journey, to reach a stage of God Realization, one needs a Guru, in a similar way, to become an Independent Director, for an Aspiring Independent Directors,  it is absolutely essential to have one or more Mentors. Not only do the mentors tell you to do what is required, sometimes even one instruction from them can save Aspiring Independent Directors countless hours of search in the wrong direction.

I am blessed to be associated with mentors like Vikesh Wallia, Divya Momaya and Pramod Jain. Also, my journey started with attending the " Masterclass for Directors "by Institute of Directors, New Delhi. who I consider as my Alma Mater.

Tip 6- Never join the Board for money.

Last but not the least- unlike other positions, like say that of a Sales Director, where by joining a Company, one has exposure to limited liability and huge Rewards, an Independent Directors position comes with limited rewards and huge liabilities, including personal. So if as an Aspiring Independent Director, your intention is to choose this position for money, know that you are at the wrong place.

As some wise man , in olden times had said, Never Marry for Money, you can borrow it cheaper.

My advise to present day Aspiring Independent Directors would be -: never join a Board for money, you can borrow it cheaper.

Published By Sandeep Budhrani

Category: Family Business
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