We all need sounding boards—no matter what our age—to test our ideas and plans, to push us into uncomfortable situations, and to provide us with feedback.
This is how successful people become more successful in many areas of their life. Instead of having an information group with whom you brainstorm, imagine having your own Personal Advisory Board you can go to for advice and feedback.
This is more like a group of mentors, carefully chosen, who can provide you with mentoring and feedback across a wide variety of your professional concerns. Each advisor should be selected to fulfill specific goals in your professional (and possibly personal) life.
To get you started thinking about your Personal Advisory Board, here are six roles that I recommend for your board:
1) The Supporter is a master listener and knows much about you as a person. He is always there to lend an encouraging ear, a hug, or a kick in the bottom.
2) The Bridge is otherwise known as the connector. This is the matchmaker for your career. Connectors love to engender relationships among people who might not otherwise have met. They are infectious and inspire others to be more like them.
3) The Sage is a person of profound wisdom is many areas. Everyone needs a sage. This should be someone who they admire, has done it all, made the mistakes, learned from them, and then triumphed. This is one of the most trusted positions on the board.
4) The Questioner is imperative for your board. It pays to surround yourself with people who will question your motives, decisions, and intentions. It’s amazing how the question “why are you doing this” will make you stop and think.
5) The Risk Taker is an inspiration to you. These people have made mistakes and wrong decisions, but they have learned from them and will encourage you to do the same. Their mantra is “you won’t know unless you try”.
6) The Maven is an expert in a particular field–yours. They are often ahead of the curve with their thoughts and ideas. These are the folks who help you make informed decisions.
It’s essential for you to be proactive and build your Personal Advisory Board BEFORE you think you need it. Take the time to build these relationships so that there is mutual trust and respect between you and your board members. This is important because you want your Advisory Board to give you honest feedback. If it’s truly honest feedback, it isn’t always positive and isn’t always something you want to hear. That’s why the relationship is so important.
A Personal Advisory Board can be a valuable tool to help you grow and be successful professionally. Taking the time upfront to identify the roles needed and to choose the members wisely will pay off in the long run as you encounter challenges in your career.