Leadership author, speaker and consultant James Strock recently wrote a blog post titled, “A Board of Directors for Your Life and Career?” Strock used the example of a famous 20th century actor named John Barrymore. Barrymore wanted to advance his career and consulted with several people to advise him. He called it his Board of Strategy. It was an informal group including critics, playwrights and teachers. His board advised him to work on his voice and he did. The result was described as transformative. He began to get serious parts, not just the light comedic parts he had been getting.
Would you benefit from your own board of strategy?
When we think of a board of directors we imagine a group of serious business people seated around an impressive table in an impressive room working through a formal agenda and directing the policies and activity of a company. A board of directors sets down directives – it tells management what to achieve and what policies to follow. I do not think most of us have a “board room”, nor do most of us want a group of other people telling us what we must do – directing us. That is why it is called a board of directors – because it directs us.
What we may want and what would benefit us is a board of advisors. This board does not have to meet formally or at all. There is no need for a board room. You can meet with your advisors either individually or in small groups. If you are contemplating a major change in your life you may want to assemble them in one room if you can to get the benefit of the synergy of a group process.
We can all benefit from advisors. We all need honest evaluation from others that we trust. Whether it is a trusted friend, colleague, accountant, attorney, or spouse, we can benefit from seeking their advice and ideas. The final decisions about what we are going to do are ours to make. But the advice from others can be invaluable, especially if you choose these advisors carefully.
I prefer to call this group a board of advisors. We should all have such advisors whom we can consult as the need arises. I suggest these guidelines about the people you seek advice from:
- You should be able to trust them.
- They should be willing to advise you honestly, even when the honesty may sting a bit. You need objective advice, not yes men.
- They should have some knowledge about what you seek advice about. You do not seek legal advice from your plumber or plumbing advice from your attorney.
- You should be willing to give something in exchange for their help. If they are giving professional advice you will likely have to pay them. If they are giving more personal advice perhaps you can agree to serve them advising them when they seek advice or doing other things for them.
- Be selective about when and how you seek their advice. Do not abuse the privilege.
- Whether you follow their advice or not you should thank them sincerely for their help.
We can all benefit from the advice and help of others. You may not want a board of directors, but would you benefit from a board (or group) of advisors?Wishing you well,
Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.