We all remember the cartoon image of a cat with an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other, getting advice on his (usually) bad decision. Hopefully we get better advice from our Personal Board of Directors. What are we talking about? Simply put, your Personal Board of Directors is the group of people who help you to make important decisions personally or professionally and that hold you accountable for those decisions. We all have one, whether we realize it or not. The question is, have you personally picked your Board?
Take a few minutes and think about who you want helping you with professional decisions. Similar to a corporation's Board of Directors, these are the people who you feel you can consult with on important decisions as well as problems, and who you answer to for your business actions.
Grab a piece of paper, and draw a table on it. Then one by one, write the names of the people you want sitting at that table, helping and guiding you through your professional life. These people could be anyone in your life, personal or professional, who are successful in their careers or other areas of their lives, have great business acumen, and strong problem solving abilities. These are people that you trust, both to give you sound advice and also constructive criticism.
Now, thinking about the people you have sitting around that table, what led you to choose them? What special abilities or characteristics make them nominees for your personal board? Go ahead and write those talents below each person’s name, and even jot down times when you might want to turn to them for advice.
Finally, spend a few minutes thinking about how to get them on your Personal Board of Directors. Having them in mind as people to turn to is great. But you also need their buy-in. Are they willing to be there for you when you need them? Touch base periodically, maybe meet for a quick coffee or lunch, catch up and bounce ideas off of each other. Keeping the relationship open and strong means they’ll be there for you when you really need them.
Just think, a few minutes of prep time and some basic relationship building can translate into a lifetime’s worth of help and great advice. The angel on your shoulder is telling you it’s a good idea.