We were lucky enough to have Paul Lahiff, Chair of Cuscal Ltd, Australian Retail Credit Association and an NED for Austbrokers and NESS Super, join us for a lunch today, where 12 Directors looking to build their portfolios were part of a lively discussion.
Paul shared that the best advice he was ever given about building his portfolio was to make sure his network:
a) knew about his desire to shift from Executive to Board roles
b) had a clear view on what he would bring to a board and
c) knew how they could assist with advice, an introduction, or whatever they could do.
A recent Financial Review article, based on a survey by the 30% Club and EY, made the point that Board roles primarily came through the Executive Search profession, not one’s network. Contrary to this piece, Paul highlighted his network as very important in building his board portfolio and that is also our experience at Watermark.
When we are briefed on a role by a client one of the most important things we do is ask people we know (sources) for their recommendations. Of course, we approach people directly but what about all of those people we do not know? How do they become part of the search? In short, the approach may come through an executive search practitioner, but they may very well have become aware of you due to the groundwork you have undertaken to inform your network and make yourself visible.
Thanks to Paul for sharing his expertise and thank you to the Directors who were able to join us, make new connections and take away a few ‘nuggets’.