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Execs should burnish bottom-line credentials

Boards want more management acumen and entrepreneurism; look for cross-functional opportunities at work or as a volunteer

Ha, Archer and Dolan
From left, executive recruiters Julian Ha and Kimberly Archer, and executive coach Tom Dolan.

June 30, 2017
By William Ehart

You hear it all the time—boards want their associations, particularly if they are trade groups, “run like a business.”

That can mean different things to different people, but understanding such a requirement can mean the difference between getting the CEO job or not.

Maybe the board just wants to know you can read a balance sheet, oversee investments or effectively manage staff. Perhaps the directors want a strict bottom-line focus: an ability and willingness to make the tough decisions to bring costs into line, to slash underperforming programs.

More likely, the board wants all that plus the ability to take risks—to be creative and entrepreneurial—and to know which risks to take.