Companies Have Board of Directors. So Should You.
Today I want to talk to you about your board of directors. Yep, you heard me right. Your support group, peer group, and mentors; the people you trust with career advice. We all have someone (or a few) we rely upon for feedback and guidance. We seek their input to make decisions, to help us with the challenges we face or to bounce ideas with. But is your board of directors a strong one?
Whom you select is most important
Your board is only as good as the people that are part of it. Therefore, you need to take a look at whom you have and the strengths they bring with them, so you can evaluate based on your needs, vision, and where you want to go.
Your board of directors should include a mix of perspectives and opinions. Now, “context” about your career choices, personality, strengths and personal circumstances matter, so determining a board specific to your needs requires we get to know each other to determine what’s best for you. However, in general, your board should include people with the following knowledge, skills, and characteristics:
Position & Industry Knowledge
Include individuals with thorough knowledge about the position you hold, or the position you wish to have, as well as knowledge of the industry you are part of; the ins and outs of it. Their experience can provide you with valuable insight about what to expect and how to prepare.
Soft Skills & Emotional Intelligence
You must include individuals with high levels of emotional intelligence. These are people who can show you how your decisions may impact you (and others), and who can provide you with insights related to people, their emotions and behaviors, and how to build strong relationships.
Change & Adaptability
Include individuals who are excellent at handling change, who adapt quickly and more efficiently. With change happening regularly and at such a fast pace, being able to deal with change effectively will make you much more marketable and productive in the workplace.
Have individuals who can show you how things can be done differently. These can be in roles similar to yours but should include people from other positions, functions, and industries. The key here is to find individuals who can see processes, tasks, and projects from a different perspective.
Do not limit yourself to having “people like you,” or people that agree with you no matter what. That is not the best approach. Also, do not be afraid to include individuals who followed a different career path from yours. A diversity of experiences and thought can only make you stronger.
I know that for many of us, parents, siblings, best friends, and spouses are key members of the board. Assuming you get along with them and they have your best interest at heart, you include them. Their perspective is as important, mainly to remind you of life outside the workplace. In my case, my wife is the chairwoman, although she argues I do not listen to her (Not true. Well sometimes).
As you look to own your career and become the CEO of You Inc., take a look at your support group, mentors, or board of directors, whatever you want to call it, to ensure you have the right mix to help you with your career growth and development. The great thing about your board of directors is that you can fire them, although not sure it will go well if you are firing your spouse, or your parents, or your best friend. Good luck with that!