Who You Gonna Call? Your Personal Board of Directors

For many organizations, their Board of Directors represent a team of trusted advisers who provide their expertise and guidance to support top executives, develop policies, increase competitive advantage, explore ideas, and move the organization forward. Their feedback is often used for strategic planning purposes to ensure the organization’s long-term health and survival.  

How can you benefit from your own Board of Directors?

Your personal Board of Directors can serve as a sounding board, reality check, or even as a team of “crisis” counselors. Someone you call upon to give sound advice to help you successfully maneuver in the often times mired world of work.

Having a challenging time with a difficult boss?  Need a second pair of eyes from a neutral party for an upcoming presentation?  Perhaps you need help understanding and maneuvering a potentially sticky situation.  In these instances, and in many others, having key “go to” people can work to your advantage and you decide who can be a source of aid in your time of need.  

Vivian, an executive at a Fortune 500 financial services corporation, has exercised her use of her own personal Board of Directors.  “I refer to my Board of Director as the ‘Magnificent Seven’.  They consist of current and retired executives, tell it like it is confidants and decision makers.  They guide me toward the best course of action and help me avoid potential career stallers and stoppers.  I’d rather learn from someone else’s mistakes versus making my own.  They have become invaluable throughout my career.”

When you start thinking about your personal Board of Directors, who comes to mind?  

If no one comes to mind immediately, you’ll have some work cut out for you.  If you are short on existing members, dig deep into your existing network (i.e., social media connections, professional affiliations, current and former colleagues, etc.).  You’d be surprised by the number of contacts who may be willing to give back to assist you.  Sometimes, all it takes is a simple ask.  As with any professional relationship, be sure to reciprocate.  How can you assist them?

Does your personal Board of Directors need to be familiar with one another?  In a word, “no.”  They don’t necessarily need to be connected or affiliated with each other. Each member can offer their unique perspective.  Strategizing with your personal Board of Directors can help build your brand and support your next move. Ultimately, you decide what is in your best interest and are accountable for if and how you use their feedback.