Valentine’s Day Lessons for Building Your Board

TLDR
Thinking outside the box during the Board placement process can work wonders:
    • Unique experiences can bring needed understanding  
    • Sending a mere email won’t win anyone’s heart 
    • Watching a video together can reveal new perspectives

Total spending for Valentine’s Day in America is projected to exceed $27.4 billion this year. Could Private Equity firms looking to place Directors on the boards of their portfolio companies learn a thing or two from all this giving? Can suggestions about “The Best Things to Do on Valentine’s Day” apply to board placements? Let’s take a look…

Seek uncommon experiences. Romantic columnists recommend going to a jazz club, eating fondue, or sharing a yoga class can make love bloom. But what about PE firms? Can breaking out of your circle of trusted confidants or your daily office habits help you land better Board candidates? It can if, for example, your newly acquired portfolio company requires specific expertise not present in your social or business circles. Connecting with industry insiders unknown to you but who know the sector your new company operates in – can certainly boost success.

Send flowers. According to one Valentine’s Day tradition, giving flowers to loved ones comes from Charles II of Sweden. Started in the 1700’s, the story goes that individual flowers were supposed to have individual meanings. By sending different flowers and arrangements, it was possible for two people in love to have a complete conversation. While floral arrangements may not directly apply to board placements, sending a handwritten card, small gift, or other personal communication can help you win the attention of appealing Board candidates in today’s world of depersonalized email and text messages.

Watch a romantic movie together. Cupid’s fans insist that romantic films can inspire loving feelings in couples who share the experience. Of course, a romantic film may be a bit much for PE firms and board placement candidates. But what about watching the portfolio company’s corporate video together and discussing afterwards? It might reveal insights about a candidate that couldn’t be gained from the standard interview process. Or viewing an industry presentation or TED talk and analyzing the speaker’s perspective. Does your Board candidate notice something that applies to your portfolio company? Hidden opportunities? Potential vulnerabilities? New competitive openings?

For more Valentine’s Day ideas that may inspire out-of-the-box thinking about your board placement practices, check out the links below:

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