One of my favorite parts of the Wall St. Journal is when they highlight a talented leader in the news and they discuss their Advisory Board. I like to see who the leader looks up to, respects and how they gain feedback for themselves. Often, I have heard of one or two of the advisors, but I am more excited to learn about the people I have not heard of as they are the superstars behind the superstars.
Who is your Advisory Board? What, you do not have one?! Well, that is okay. Here are some ideas about how to select your board. First, let me start with a definition. I am talking about your personal board to help you develop your talents, career and achieve your goals. I am not talking about an Advisory Board that you would convene to go over your business goals (this is valuable to do as well and probably will be a future blog topic.)
The first thing to think about is what do you to discuss with an advisor? Next, you will want to know what are your career aspirations? Okay, now that you have some initials thoughts it is time to start identifying advisors.
Here are some thoughts for you to ponder—
1. You will want a mix of technical experts in your field and people that can help you grow skills that you might be lacking (emotional intelligence, business development, budgeting.)
2. You should be clear on what you are hoping to gain out of the relationship.
3. What is your request of your advisor—how often do you want to meet? What type of insights do you hope they can provide? Are there contacts they can introduce you to? etc.
4. Your advisors can change over time. The challenges you have in 2019 might be very different in 2022. It is okay to thank an advisor, honor them with a gift and a nice note thanking them for their advice and then selecting a new advisor for your situation.
5. Do you have to pay them? Generally, no. However, you will want to treat them to lunch or coffee.
6. Think about what you can do for your advisor. As you work with them, be curious about what they are interested in and see if you can connect them to someone or a good resource to help them grow as well.
7. How often do you meet? Some meet as often as once a month. Normal, is about 3-4 times per year.
8. What makes a good advisor? A good listener that can understand your challenges. Someone you trust sharing your hopes, dreams and concerns with. Someone who has the time to meet and is willing to give you thoughtful advice.
I have used an Advisory Board for the past 25 years and it has been critical to my success. I have also been an Advisor multiple times and it has been an incredibly rewarding experience to help others. Who is going to be on your Advisory Board? Who could you be an Advisor to? Let us know how you are doing in your growth!