“Mentor” is a word that most of us are familiar with, and we understand how a mentoring relationship works and how it benefits us. However with the changing nature of society and the workplace, the prevalence of mentors has decreased. The world is much more face paced than it once was, and people do not have as much time to allocate to others in a formal mentoring role. That does not mean that there are no resources for personal and professional guidance - you can turn to your Personal Board of Directors for assistance.
What is a Personal Board of Directors?
Every company has a Board of Directors established to keep the best interest of the company in mind and provide strategic input, without bias. You can and should embrace this concept at an individual level to ensure your own professional success. A Personal Board of Directors is a group of people that are hand-selected by YOU for very specific reasons. They are people who support your goals and who you trust to consult for honest, insightful advice. They do not necessary know that they have the designated title of being on your Personal Board, but they do know that you will consult them for insights and they will be happy to oblige, because they are within your trusted circle.
Who is on my Personal Board of Directors?
You want to be very strategic about who you put on your Personal Board of Directors. The members should not consist of all of your close personal “buddies”. Consider adding your boss or respected colleague, as someone who can give insights on your current performance and understands the company that you are currently in. You might also consider an additional member who lies outside of your current company, but still within your industry. This person would be someone who is knowledgeable about the field and can provide industry-specific insights that are not focused on you as an individual. Alternatively, the next member might be someone who knows you very well on a personal level and understands your thought process and how you tend to respond to situations emotionally and ultimately reach conclusions and make decisions. Your Personal Board can be as large or as small as you want it to be but, as you can see, you can be very strategic with selectivity.
Once your Board is created, it is important to communicate with each member about your goals and keep them up to date about what is going on in your professional job search and, in some cases, your life in general when applicable. Remain open to suggestions and thank your Board members for their part in your efforts.
How will it benefit me?
There are many benefits to developing a Personal Board of Directors. First, it gives you the benefit of experience. You can seek advice from people who hold positions that you aspire to attain, or have extensive knowledge in an industry that you are pursuing. You can work smarter to develop valuable connections with people who have a vested interest in your success and will propel you forward. As is true with a business board of directors, you want to diversify your team so that you can benefit from the various perspectives and opinions that can be offered. Seeking out people with different life and professional experiences will help you uncover and fill any gaps that you may have in your strategic plan.
Your team of Directors is always happy to help and want to see you succeed. I encourage you to think critically about the supporters you have in your life and utilize them strategically to advance your career. I don’t think you will be disappointed with the results!
Have you developed a personal Board of Directors? How have you used them to advance your career?