Board of Directors

Beyond mentorship or a strong leader, who is on your personal board of directors (PBoD)?

Just as a board of directors acts to advise a corporation, your PBoD should act as your advisory council. Since you want unbiased advice, it’s probably best to leave your mom (and other direct family members) off your board. They are too heavily invested and supportive of your path and ideas to give you the straight talk you need. This is a group designed to be advisers to you as you journey through your career, so while some of them need to have knowledge of your field, it’s not vital that they all do. Your PBoD should be available to you when you need them, so make sure you have access to the members if they are truly going to be on your board. Diversify your PBoD as well, try to make sure you have members from different companies, fields, areas of your life, and roles within their organization. Here are a few roles you may want to include as you build out your personal board of directors:

  • Role Model: Someone whom you admire and leads by example. Given the opportunity, you would want to follow in their footsteps. You value the role they play and the steps they took to get there.
  • The Yin to your Yang: If opposing forces counterbalance, than you need to figure out your strengths and find someone who has opposite strengths (but is still in your corner!) to help you see a side of things invisible to you.
  • Accountability Partner: Here is someone who is willing (and maybe a little TOO enthusiastic) about holding you accountable for the projects and career goals you set your mind to.
  • The Wise Owl: This is someone preferably from a generation above you that has had significant experiences which they can pull from to advise you.
  • The Young Gun: Experience isn’t the only valuable trait on your board. Also seek someone who is newer in their career who may not have been as heavily influenced by the industry and can provide a fresh, new perspective.
  • The Sponsor: When you need someone in your corner who has some clout, this is who you turn to. This may also be the most intimidating person to approach to be on your board.

This is not an exhaustive list, but a starting point. Ideally you’ll have a handful of people who you can go to when you need guidance, so you’re not a burden on any one of them. Anywhere between 4 and 8 is a great ‘sweet spot’ for your board. Remember that this doesn’t need to be a formal structure and you certainly don’t need to hold board meetings, but just know who you can go to when you need specific kinds of support.

If you want to dive deeper into research about PBoDs, just search “Personal Board of Directors” and have at it, there’s plenty of reading material out there to keep you busy!