Reid’s Rituals of Great Boards: the 8 strategic tools used by top companies
Reid’s Rituals of Great Boards: The 8 strategic tools used by top companies

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Board Assists

Inspired by TripActions: Leverage your board's influence to sell and hire.
It’s amazing the weight that a “from” line in an email can carry. I love this from Nick Mehta, the CEO at Gainsight:
“Think of a brand or company you really admire. How would you feel if you got a personal email from the CEO of that company? I’m willing to bet you’d open it quickly and would be more likely to respond.”
Getting an email from a board member can have the same effect. I’m a big believer that making key introductions is one of the greatest contributions a board member can offer a company. In my experience, the best boards actively leverage their rolodex and social capital to help companies:
sell to target customers
hire amazing talent
collaborate with strategic partners
meet potential investors

For example, wouldn’t it be great if every job offer a company extended was accompanied by an email from the board? Or what if VIP customers each received personal thank-you notes from members of the board?
The problem, of course, is that most board members are extremely busy. Personal outreach to every single candidate or key account just isn’t practical.

How TripAdvisor’s board leverages board assists

That’s where come in to play. Inspired by a process developed by the team, board assists scale key outreach and introductions by board members. Every month, the strategic accounts team at TripActions sends a spreadsheet of target customers to their board. The list has a clear breakout of the companies they are targeting, including LinkedIn profiles of important people at each company. Board members can then easily identify people on the list they are connected with and send them a message. The TripActions board even built a leaderboard as a friendly way to track the number of introductions made by each board member.
Not surprisingly, this strategy isn’t unique to TripAdvisor. Other companies are known for running different variations of board assists. GitLab opens up the process beyond the board to its broader investor pool. Gainsight uses to facilitate the outreach.

A board assists ritual for your team

I’ve adapted TripAdvisor’s system into a template you can copy and use with your own board. Here’s how it works:
Internal team requests an assist. Sales reps, customer success managers, recruiters, executives, and other team members add people to the that they’d like the board to reach out to.
Board members review the list and indicate the people they are connected with. Multiple board members can (and should) raise their hand for the same person. The more points of contact, the better.
Board members reach out and mark on the list when they’ve successfully talked with that person. This lets everyone else know that the person has been contacted and automatically updates the team .

Ready to give it a shot? Copy and customize the template below for your own team 👇.
Start by clearing the example data →
Then, add board assists to the table below. Share the list with your board and ask them to reach out to the people listed.
Board Member
Raised hand
Polly Rose
James Booth
Felix Marlin
Mary Jones
There are no rows in this table

Request board assist
Board assists
LinkedIn profile
I'm connected
Made contact
Azul Baldwin
Job candidate
Lola Tseudonym
Korbyn Colon
Target customer
Buck Dubois
Teresa Holland
Strategic partner
Lola Tseudonym
There are no rows in this table

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