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How To Establish a Personal Board of Directors

By Editorial Team | Updated on July 16, 2023

This comprehensive article demystifies the concept of a ‘Personal Board of Directors‘ – a dynamic team of trusted advisors you assemble to guide your career growth. Whether you’re a seasoned executive or an ambitious professional, this board provides diverse perspectives and experience-based advice, significantly impacting your career decisions.

Understanding Personal Board of Directors

As we navigate our careers, the influence and advice of others often play a crucial role. One concept gaining traction in professional circles is the idea of a “Personal Board of Directors.”

Essentially, it refers to a diverse group of trusted individuals who can provide guidance, support, and perspective to help you achieve your career goals.

This concept is particularly relevant to talented women managers and senior executives aspiring to move up in their organizations.

While these talented professionals often have the skills, work ethic, and networking abilities to excel, they often lack a personal board of directors to provide strategic advice.

The Concept of a Personal Board of Directors

Much like a corporate board of directors, your personal board is a group of individuals you trust and respect, who can provide valuable insight, advice, and connections to guide your career and personal growth.

The value of a personal board of directors is in its diversity, encompassing a range of experiences and perspectives to help you navigate the complexities of your career journey.

General Manager of Mars Wrigley India, Kalpesh Parmar’s advice fits right in, “Think of yourself as your own business, with you at the helm as the CEO.”

Embracing the persona of being your own CEO involves several facets, crucially inclusive of self-recognition of one’s value and investment in oneself.

This sense of self is further enriched with the presence of a personal board of directors who constantly guide you towards success.

At every level of your career, you should have a personal board. Its composition will change as you grow and face different challenges.

A personal board of directors should consist of four or five key people who are not emotionally invested in you, but believe in your abilities and talents. They should be willing and able to give advice when you face key decisions.

It’s essential to differentiate between a personal board of directors, a mentor, and a coach.

While mentors serve as guideposts within your company and coaches encourage you to go the extra mile, your personal board provides a broader perspective, guiding you through key decisions and career milestones.

How to Create a Personal Board of Directors

Creating a personal board of directors might seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. Here’s a structured approach to creating an effective board:

1. Make a long list.

List people who might serve on your board and segment them into three categories:

– People who know you well, such as a sibling, a good friend, or a partner.
– Advisors in your professional life, such as an accountant, an attorney, or a speech coach.
– People in your personal or professional circle who you admire, such as a senior executive, a parent, or a professor.

2. Review your list.

Over several days and decide what combination of these people would provide the best objective advice. Aim for a balance of professional skills, industry experience, age, and knowledge of your abilities.

3. Sort all your potential board members into a grid.

Next to each name, note their relationship to you, organization/company, specific knowledge or skill, and contact information.

4. Evaluate your selection to ensure a good balance.

Consider whether you have too many financial advisors, not enough marketing experts, or too many relatives.

You should aim for a mix of talents, industry knowledge, and experience. A smart mix of gender and age is also beneficial.

5. With your grid in hand, start contacting your top choices.

Explain your intentions, the informal nature of the board, and the specific knowledge or experience they can contribute. Most people will be flattered by your request and eager to offer guidance.

Benefits and Evolution of Your Personal Board of Directors

Having a personal board of directors comes with numerous benefits. They can provide you with diverse perspectives, help you navigate challenges, and offer support during critical decision-making times.

Your board can also introduce you to new networks, opportunities, and ideas that you may not have discovered on your own.

Building your personal board of directors is a continuous process. As your career evolves, so will your board. At the end of each year, review your board list.

You may need to add members or politely excuse some from serving as your needs change. This is your “Go To” team, and you always want to have people on it who believe in you.

FAQ Section

1. Can I include family members in my Personal Board of Directors?

Yes, family members can be part of your Personal Board of Directors, especially if they offer unique insights and expertise.

However, ensure you maintain a balanced perspective by including non-family members, as they can provide more objective advice.

2. How often should I communicate with my Personal Board of Directors?

The frequency of communication with your board members depends on your individual needs and the availability of the members.

You might choose to reach out during key decision-making periods, or you might prefer regular check-ins. Be sure to respect their time and communicate in a way that works for both parties.

3. Do members of my Personal Board of Directors need to meet each other?

Not necessarily. The concept of a Personal Board of Directors is more about you having a group of individuals to reach out to for advice when needed, rather than them meeting as a formal group. However, if you believe that a group discussion would be beneficial, you can arrange a meeting.

4. What if a board member doesn’t have time to help or is unresponsive?

It’s essential to understand that the people you ask to serve on your Personal Board of Directors have other commitments. If someone is unable to help or is unresponsive, you can reach out to other individuals on your list. It’s all about creating a supportive, flexible network that can adapt as your needs change.

5. How can I thank my Personal Board of Directors for their time and advice?

While serving on your Personal Board of Directors is a voluntary commitment, showing your appreciation is important. A simple thank you note or email acknowledging their contribution can go a long way. Depending on your relationship, you could also consider more personal ways of expressing gratitude, such as a lunch invitation or a small gift.

Conclusion: Embrace the Power of a Personal Board of Directors

In conclusion, establishing a personal board of directors can be a powerful tool for professional growth. It allows for a diversity of thoughts, offers a wealth of experience, and provides a supportive network. Whether you’re an aspiring leader, a seasoned professional, or somewhere in between, a personal board of directors can provide invaluable guidance on your career journey. So, why wait? Start building your personal board of directors today.

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