Practical Advice: How to Be a Good Board Member

Physician Heal Thyself

“Ye will surely say unto me this proverb, 'Physician, heal thyself'.” Luke 4:23

This proverb from the New Testament invites those who proffer expertise to prove their convictions by incorporating the same solutions they offer to others in their own practice.

Many VC’s pay lip service to good board governance while not internalizing such practices in their own firms or in their own portfolio companies’ board practices.  A clear sign of this is evident when VC’s fall into the trap of overextending themselves as fiduciaries.

Two concrete manifestations: (1) serving on too many startup boards; and (2) not being self-aware of changes in one’s own motivations, personal objectives, and continuing commitment over the span of one’s career as an investor.

There are two simple and effective ways to address these issues: (1) double team your fiduciary assignments (which also serves the apprenticeship model of venture capital, trains your next generation of partners, and holds you more accountable to your entire partnership); and (2) honestly assess whether you are willing to continue to work as hard, or harder, now, as you were five, ten, or fifteen years ago.

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