You are never too young or old to start building your personal board of directors. I’ve represented several executive search firms in my PR days. Years ago, I did a media pitch about people’s personal board of directors when looking for a job. At the same time I started my own. With every career milestone I reassess my board and make sure nobody needs to be retired. I thought it was a good time to share who is on mine – and see who is on everyone else’s!
The supporter. This person is a master listener. They know a ton about the marketing industry but also about me as a person. They are always there to lend an encouraging ear, a hug or a kick in the butt.
The sage. Everyone needs a director they admire, somebody who has done it all in your field, made the mistakes, learned from them and triumphed. This is one of the most trusted positions on the board.
The risk taker. This person is an inspiration. They have made mistakes and wrong decisions but they have learned from them and they will encourage you to do the same. Their mantra is “you won’t know if you never try.”
The questioner. This is an imperative board seat. Unlike the kings and queens in the book I just read for my book club (“Pillars of the Earth”); it pays to surround yourself with people who will question your motives, decisions and intentions. This person makes me a better marketing professional and helps me understand and process judgments and next steps.
The bridge. Otherwise known as the connector – predictably, this is the matchmaker for your career. Connectors love to engender relationships among people who might not otherwise have met. Connectors are infectious; this person inspires others to be more like them.
The maven. My maven is an expert in innovative marketing communication theories and techniques. They are often ahead of the curve but their expertise goes beyond B2B communications for professional and financial services companies. In Malcom Gladwell’s definition these are the folks who help us make informed buying decisions. I trust the way my maven thinks – they help me make smarter career judgments.
The hallmark of a good leader is your ability to listen. So no matter whom you add to your personal board, make sure you listen to them – after all – that is what a board is for.
Who is on your personal board of directors and why?
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