Many companies or different non-profits have a board of directors that help a company make decisions. Most of the people on the board have different areas of expertise, or areas that they are most knowledgeable in. As I have been continuing my job search during COVID-19, and have been starting to set more goals for the future, the more important I realize it is to have different people in my corner that are there to encourage me, offer sound wisdom and advice, have more experience than me, and have my best interest at heart.
Lately there has been articles in the Wall Street Journal, TED, and on LinkedIn; about networking in way to set up a board of directors within your network. The first people you turn to for questions, encouragement, and introduction. After your board, you have your other network connections that you could reach out to more casually, and then ones that need to be more professional (you might have randomly added them on LinkedIn.
My personal board consists of people I trust who I know that I can go to for advice. I then have other connections that I have been in contact with, who get me in contact with their connections as well. There are multiple categories of people who can be on your board, and you can have as many people as you would like on your board. The problem with having too many, could often times be too many opinions, that then it just makes it even more difficult to make a decision or it just ends up being too many people to keep in the loop. One caveat I have here, is that I often share a lot with my closest friends, and I value their advice and thoughts and welcome it, but they are not on my board. The people on my board are experienced, older than me, and would not be considered my peers. The point of a board is to have the added wisdom and support from someone ahead of you in the journey of life.
On the opposite side having too few people on your board does not allow you to get a broader perspective on decisions and opportunities. There are also situations that are not consistently important, or decisions that you very rarely have to make, and sometimes the best person for that decision might not be on your board of directors, but they could be included for that decision.
All of this to be said, here are some of the types of people who could be on your board of directors.
Financial- this can be a financial advisor, or someone you trust to help you set up a budget
Spiritual- this can be a discipler, a small group leader, and/or a pastor
Entrepreneurial- this is someone who has connections more in the ends of venture capital, start-ups, etc.
Networker- this is a person who just has a lot of connections and is good about using them and how to use them.
Your Industry Mentor- This can be a supervisor or mentor who has worked or currently works in the industry that you are working in or wanting to work in.
Mental Health Professional
Relationship Mentor- this can be any type of mentor you look up too, but maybe you go to this person more for advice on your relationships.
Legal- sometimes it is good to have a lawyer on hand who you trust to run questions and ideas by
For me most of the people on my personal board are family friends, mentors, pastors, and family members. Every single person on my board is at least six years older than me. The main thing I have found with a personal board is that when you go to the director of a certain area of your life, you need to be honest with them about that area, and you need to be able to trust them enough to be that honest with them.
So during this time of somewhat of a reboot, fresh start, or square one type point; be thinking of who you view as your personal board of directors. Who do you trust? Whose opinion would you value? Who is an expert in your field but is not a far off connection?
Then after that, if you have not been in contact with that person for a while, and you have questions for them; ask them. Reach out. They might have some good next steps for you to try.
After that reach out to the list of friends on your list closest to you and run that advice past them. You can also reach out to those networking connections you have that you know slightly better, to see if they have any new opportunities that have come up.
I think sometimes we think that it is us against the world, but it really isn’t. We have a lot of people in our corner if we are just intentional to reach out, and vulnerable enough to share and admit where we need help.