Cool concept: Personal board of directors

Sorry the blog went on a little hiatus. Now that graduation is over (congrats to the class of 2009!), I should be back more regularly, looking at everything from how to land a job via Web 2.0 to what to do when you have an offer on the table.

Hopefully, with graduation behind us and the big, real world staring at us, job offers will begin to roll in, and you (we) will be making big, exciting decisions. A great way to make those decisions easier is to have a personal board of directors. In much the same way companies have brands, and you have  a personal brand, companies also have boards of directors, and so should you.

A board for a company is an advising and decision-making body. I’m not suggesting that you ask your board to vote on every decision in your life. Rather, your board should be a group of trusted confidantes that you can turn to for advice and guidance.

This Fast Company article outlines the types of people you want to have on your board and how to utilize their strengths. You want:

  • A clarifier to ask questions
  • A connector to help you network
  • A challenger who moves you to action
  • A wise elder who has lots of experience under his or her belt

The article gives tips on how to get your board started, and when and how often to meet. They suggest including members that aren’t friends or family. So maybe you recruit a former professor, or someone who has the kind of job you might like to have in five years. Not only is it a great way to get new perspectives, but you build your network with solid relationships. Members can also be people you’ve met just online, through Facebook, Twitter, or elsewhere.

In the interest of honesty, I don’t have a “board of directors” per se, but I am lucky to have people (family, friends and others) whose opinions I trust, and who graciously share their time and insights with me. Maybe your board doesn’t have to be so formal, either, but the idea is good: cultivate a network of people outside your peer group who have insights and abilities different from your own. It’ll pay dividends.

Note: Fast Company is a magazine for entrepreneurs, so this article is for a person starting a business. Don’t let that turn you off though — we’re all really in the business called Me, Inc.


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