Home > Career > Do You Have a Personal Board of Directors?

Do You Have a Personal Board of Directors?

A trusted mentor of mine shared with me long ago the notion of having a Personal Board of Directors.  Would you like to know more?  If so, read on.  If not, take a long walk of a short bridge…

I don’t think this blog’s audience needs a tutorial in the typical role of a Board – most would agree that the presence of this guiding body of wise (and mostly old) sages is a conceptually sound idea: get a bunch of smart, experienced, accomplished, and hopefully diverse perspectives in a room to regularly make sure the company a) has its act together and b) is generally headed in the right direction.  So if this has proven to be a good for companies, I’d argue that it is similarly good for individuals.  Get a bunch of people who are respected, trusted, and recognized in their respective fields to sit on your own Board of Directors.  They shouldn’t come from your current company or job; rather, they should be out there doing other cool things.  Seek them out, interview them, and hire them.  Charge them with helping to guide, counsel, and direct your career (or other endeavor).  Give them a charter and hold them accountable to it.  Tell them you’re serious about this.  Keep them apprised of your progress, call regular meetings to discuss what’s hot, call emergency meetings for matters of particular significance.  And do all of this as a group…not as individuals.  What’s in it for them?  A chance to mentor someone who’s got it going on, an opportunity to network with others, and potentially an opportunity for exotic travel if you hold your annual meetings “off-site.”  What’s in it for you?  A thoughtful, thorough, and committed mechanism for regular mentoring and career development outside of the laborious confines of your company’s process (if it exists at all).   

I don’t know, I kind of like it.  Let me know what you think…

  1. November 18, 2009 at 9:58 pm

    I hate boards. They are always dysfunctional and overly confident. If you’re so damn smart, why isn’t this company more profitable?

    I wrote that in an email that was widely circulated among my HR colleagues at Kemper Insurance. You don’t want your board to know your name when you’re 25 and a regional HR manager.

    That being said: I like the idea of advisors who are doing great stuff.

    • November 19, 2009 at 5:45 pm

      @laurie don’t get me started on board competence…i have had my own eye-rolling experiences with them. but i still have to deal with one quite regularly so that’s all i’m going to say about that. definitely run a risk of getting the wrong people on your “personal board of directors”, but the good news is you get to hire/fire them. thx for the comment

  2. November 18, 2009 at 10:06 pm

    Great idea. Not crazy about Boards neither, but what better way to get good feedback. I remember the advise I read once: there are situations where people you know just ‘don’t get it’. He advised that we ask a mentor, ‘what is it that I just don’t get?’. Amazing what eyeopening response you’ll get.

    • November 19, 2009 at 5:47 pm

      @jaw outside perspective on the complexities we deal with on a daily basis might just clear up some of the muck. it’s tough to “go it alone.” thx for the comment.

  3. wmcmenamin
    November 19, 2009 at 10:14 am

    Charlie, I really like this idea. I’ve actually been thinking about it for some time. The key is finding the “right” people and actually implementing without folks thinking you’ve gone off of the deep end! 😉

    • November 19, 2009 at 5:50 pm

      @bill roger that. btw, the mentor who planted this idea in my head over a decade ago is one i think has been on your personal board of directors too. thx for the comment.

  1. November 19, 2009 at 11:41 am

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