Creating Your Own Personal Board of Directors (Your Career Advisors)

Authored by Barbara A. F. Greene, CEO of Greene and Associates, Inc.

ICF Master Certified Coach and M.S. Degree in Counseling

When you look at any company with a board, there’s usually a lawyer, a real estate person, an accountant, and so on. Just as a company benefits from experts, so will you. Surround yourself with people who have skill sets and personalities that are different than yours. Adjust this personal board of directors as your career goals change.

WIIFM (What’s in it for me to have a board of directors?)

  • Receive advice from individuals who have specialized knowledge and/or business experience that is different than your background.
  • Acquire perceptives of how they see you leading yourself and others.
  • Accelerate introductions to other key stakeholders in your development.
  • Gain encouragement, support, and feedforward from other professionals who want to see you succeed.

WIIFT (What’s in it for the board of directors?)

  • Expand their relationships.
  • Expedite their knowledge of other areas within the organization or the community.
  • Improve their strategic and political acumen.
  • Fast-track another person in achieving their goals.

How do I approach the potential board of director member?

  • Let the person know that you respect and admire them.
  • Explain what you would like the person to do to serve as your advisor on your personal board of directors.
  • Offer to reciprocate by helping the potential board member.

What do I need to know about selecting and maximizing my board of directors?

  • Identify people you admire inside and outside your organization. These advisors are people with important connections and those who want to see you succeed.
  • Use your board to provide guidance about professional image and presence, to expose you to valuable connections, or to provide promotion opportunities and references.
  • Just as a code of behavior applies to networking groups, it is also critical to thoughtfully manage the advisor-protégé relationship. Most advisors are more than happy to provide guidance to a protégé that is eager to learn and uses the advisor’s time well.
  • Expressing gratitude to advisors is a requirement of this special relationship. You can also reciprocate your board’s generosity by offering to support your advisors in their future endeavors.

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