Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Who’s On Your Board of Directors?

Guest post from regular contributor S. Chris Edmonds:

Many companies have a board of directors, but we often don’t think about having a personal board to invest in our professional (and even personal) life.

I ask you--do you have a group of people around you that are committed to your success, who push you to keep learning, and who hold you accountable to your values and purpose?

Few of us do, yet having a personal “board of directors” or “board of advisors” can be a huge help in our lives.

I was a non-profit executive for 15 years. From my best boss, I learned how important a strong board is to the success of an executive's organization - and, personally, to that executive's success.

Many times, board members are volunteers. (In large corporations, some are paid.) Your personal board would be willing volunteers who are interested in helping you grow. In a “best case” scenario, your own board will be a type of support team and accountability group. They will help you stay true to your values, and encourage you to stay on track with being your best.

In a “worst case” scenario, board members will look out for their personal needs, perhaps using you to advance their agendas.

Before you decide to gather a personal board of directors, you need to formalize your personal purpose and values, which includes defining your values in measurable and behavioral terms.   This exercise will chart your course, giving you an outline of how you want to act and who you want to be in your work and personal life.

Once your personal purpose and values statement is clear, then you can consider 3-4 people in your network that you may want to ask to be part of your personal board. These people should consistently demonstrate characteristics such as:
1. Honesty. These people do not hide the truth. They are willing to share from their perspective, even things that may be hard to hear.

2.Service. These people are inspired by helping others.  They would receive joy by being part of such a group, without looking to gain something for themselves.

3.Success. These people have modeled success in their teams, businesses, and even personal life. They demonstrate getting the right things done the right way.

Once you identify some possible candidates, request 30 minutes of their time so you can explain why you would like them to be part of your personal board. Share your purpose and values statement and that you want their help to stay on track.

If they are interested, go further with establishing parameters. For example, “I would need…”

 - An hour a month of your tie for a one-on-one conversation by phone or face-to-face.

- You to hold me accountable for living out my values/purpose.

- Direct feedback on your perception on how I am interacting with others.

- Coaching on opportunities that may help me improve as a servant leader.

You may want to start with just two board members. As you have conversations with them, share your hits-and-misses.  Ask questions. Moreover, perhaps most importantly, listen intently. (After all, you have identified them as people who can add value and inspire you to grow.)

Your meetings can be one-on-one, or sometimes as a group. Either way, you will find benefit if you listen and apply guidance and suggestions from others who care about your success.

S. Chris Edmonds is a sought-after speaker, author, and executive consultant. After a 15-year career leading successful teams, Chris founded his consulting company, The Purposeful Culture Group, in 1990. Chris has also served as a senior consultant with The Ken Blanchard Companies since 1995. He is the author or co-author of seven books, including Amazon best sellers The Culture Engine and Leading at a Higher Level with Ken Blanchard. Learn from his blog posts, podcasts, assessments, research, and videos at http://drivingresultsthroughculture.com. Get free resources plus weekly updates from Chris by subscribing here

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