This guidebook to board membership lays out three broad lines of questioning that every board candidate should explore before saying "yes" or "no" to an invitation to join. The three clusters of questions include (1) those that make or break the opportunity,(2) those that explore the relative hygiene or well being of the board inviting you to join, and (3) those that distinguish merely good boards from the practices of those boards that can be said to be great.
The preface provides a pragmatist's view of how to make productive use of this book. The author of the preface is Ken Bloem, a seasoned director, current executive chairman of a private firm, and former CEO in multiple settings, both for-profit and not-for-profit. He speaks from deep experience as both a CEO and an independent director.
John Balkcom has been a longtime advisor to management and boards. He retired in 2000 after 25 years as a management consultant and continues to serve as a corporate director and advisory board member for a number of public and private enterprises. Most recently, he became a member of the governing board of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.
Before John and his wife Carol moved to Denver in 2010, they spent almost 40 years in the Chicago area, from which John traveled to every corner of the US, with trips to New Zealand, South Africa, and Europe from time to time. His work as a consultant and as a board member put him in front of over a thousand board and committee meetings before he stopped to write this book. He served as a partner at Booz, Allen and Hamilton and at Sibson & Company, from which he retired in 2000.