Don’t Propose Until You’re Ready

| by Bert Armstrong

I’ve been blessed with a wonderful wife for the past twenty-one years.  My family and friends adore her and many of them were frustrated with the fact that it took more than four years of courtship before I popped the question.  Some think it took me that long to convince my wife that I was a good catch.  Others thought I was afraid of commitment.  Maybe it was a little of both.

Our blogs this month focus on the important issue of board development.  So why, you ask, do we start out with a story about marriage?  While very different, there are some interesting similarities surrounding the courtship that takes place – or should take place.  Before any organization and their prospective board member decide to join forces, both sides should take inventory of their needs and of the things they offer each other in the relationship.  It gives the board member the chance to understand and embrace the mission and vision of the entity they are being asked to help govern.  It also offers them a chance to understand what kind of commitment is expected of them.  The courtship offers the organization time to understand the board member’s interests, skills, motivations for serving, and their likely commitment level.  Simply put, the courtship allows both sides time to determine if the “fit” is right.  As with any good marriage, it is better to figure this out before you say "I Do!"

What are some strategies you have used in cultivating potential board members, or in your experience being recruited to serve?  Join the conversation and share some of your stories.

Bert Armstrong is a co-founder and principal of Armstrong McGuire & Associates. 

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