How to Create Your Personal Board of Directors
No man is an island.
Two heads are better than one.
Strength in numbers.
We've all heard these age-old proverbs and have probably heard them all of our lives. But have we taken them to heart? And if we have, to what extent and to what end?
Creating your own personal board of directors, a close group of advisers, or a Mastermind group, is an absolute necessity to anyone who wishes to be successful. So, who should you have on your board?
Lets take a look:
Spouse – If your spouse or significant other is not on board, you might as well stop now. Your spouse can literally make or break you in your efforts toward success. They can either be a motivating and driving force, or they could literally be a heavy weight that keeps you “un-moving“. Besides, but who else in your life knows you as well as your spouse or partner?
Your spouse typically know your strengths, weaknesses, goals, and often times are a voice of reason. And if you're really lucky, like me, you have a spouse that is also a motivator.
Getting your spouse or significant other on board should be the first step in any successful endeavor.
Expert(s) – The next person in your board of directors should be an expert in the field you're trying to get into. This person will ideally have been working in that position for several years and knows what it takes to be successful. Your Expert should also have contacts they can connect you with. After all, it's all about who you know, not what you know. This person should help get you moving in the right direction, and help you stay on the right path. It's also not a bad idea to have more than one expert on your board.
Tester – A Tester is a director that you “test” ideas with. They are a sounding board for potential ideas, business or otherwise. A tester that I've had, and hope to continue to have, in my professional life, is a co-worker at my day job. Your tester doesn't have to be. A tester is someone who has the same goal as you but sees things from a very different point of view.
The keys for your Tester are three-fold:
- Their point of view has to be different.
- They have to be able see the same end-goal.
- They have to be willing and able to give you honest feedback.
Testers will point out the flaws or holes in your ideas but they won't pick at them. Someone who picks at your ideas in a negative way has no place on your board of directors. Good testers will be able to strengthen your resolve by providing support and give you sound advice that helps you outline your plans and goals in more detail.
My tester also subs in as a “brainstormer”. Not a bad idea to have more than one tester on your board but having too many could keep you from action!
Editor – Editors are the board members who have the greatest eye for detail. They'll notice things that others miss. A good editor will notice typos on your resume, inconsistencies in your business plans, and the tiny mistakes on anything else you put your name on . There is little more annoying than having a recruiter, hiring manager or potential business partner notice a mistake after you just bragged about have an eye-for-detail.
Don't let that happen; choose your editors wisely.
Brainstormers – Brainstorming is a term that was made popular in 1953 by Alex Faickney Osborn in Applied Imagination. In his book, Osborn suggested that brainstorming is more effective than individuals working alone, in the generating of ideas. When at the early stages of a project or business plan, working with a quality brainstormer, or several, is a good idea.
In working toward a promotion and role change within my current company, I spent several hours with my brainstormer in a room throwing ideas at each other. We had a whiteboard, a marker, and a pen and paper. No idea presented, well almost no idea, was too ludicrous. Though I didn't come out of that brainstorming session with a perfectly polished business plan, the ideas tossed around in that room led to a wonderful presentation, a solid business case, and many great ideas.
Creating your own personal board of directors is something you need to do. Running my ideas by them has given me more self-confidence, a greater ability to communicate my goals, and the wisdom to know when to re-think or push ahead.
To those on my board reading this- thank you!