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Thinking of Joining a Board? Ask These Questions First

A female bank vice president was asked to join a not-for-profit (NFP) board and asked me what questions she should ask before she joined. I shared what follows with her, and I reproduced it below and amended it.

Here are the questions I would ask before joining a NFP board. Some or many of them can apply to other types of boards. It is important to scrutinize the organization for professionalism and fit, particularly for NFPs where resources can be stretched, as your reputation and even financial assets may be at risk. Many directors I interview, when I ask for their greatest regret, they say not firing the CEO earlier, and joining the wrong board.

These questions try to address the downside of joining the wrong board. Here they are:

1. Do you have an inner passion for what the organization does and stands for (its vision, mission and values), and whom it serves? Can you make a solid contribution to the strategy of the organization and its performance?

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