Screwtape’s 10 Pieces of Advice to New Board Members


  1. Be fashionably late to meetings.
  2. Don’t show up too often so the board recognizes it’s special when you do.
  3. Start preparing for a meeting just before you go in so the materials are all fresh on your mind.
  4. Dominate the discussion; to sound smart, use buzz phrases like “we’ve got to collaborate,” “what’s our value proposition,” and “we need to pivot our business model.”
  5. Be intimidating to discourage people who might otherwise disagree with you (yelling and cursing generally work well).
  6. Frequently check your phone for messages (texting is even better); it shows you’re important.
  7. When in doubt, go with the majority or whatever the executive recommends (that will always keep you out of trouble).
  8. Complain, but don’t offer solutions; that’s management’s job.
  9. Kill two birds with one stone: do business with the organization; for all your good work, it’s okay to get some return benefits, and that goes for all the directors.
  10. Above all, keep the admin costs as low as possible; that’s the key to great governance.