I often get asked to get on boards, advisory or Boards of Directors, or provide advice on the selection of board members. I always tell people they have to keep a good MMAU cross section (some people may play multiple roles, but they all need to be represented):
M – Marquee – People on the board who add credibility or cache simply by them being there. Not celebrities! Adding a start football player to the board of your medical research company, does not add any Marquee value (unless you are doing brain damage research and the athlete suffers from it and is willing to be a spokesperson)
M – Management/Money – Management team representation is important, even if it’s only the CEO. Money representation is important, even if it’s only a lead investor or major benefactor
A – Access – People who can provide you with access to whatever you need at the time. It may be an influential consultant who can provide you with access to C-Level clients, or a retired executive who knows “everyone” in your industry.
U – Utility – People who can actually “do” things on/for the board. For example a CPA who can head up the audit committee, or an attorney who can provide general legal advice (before you are big enough to have a dedicated General Counsel), or simply just a person who would not mind rolling up their sleeves and working alongside the management team to get things done.
And as far as size, smaller than 3 and it’s not really a Board, larger than 8 and it’s really bored!