Who is on Your Personal Board of Directors?

March 23, 2016 | 2178 Views

Who is on Your Personal Board of Directors?

Chip Romp

Senior Director, Workforce Development and Business Services | National Restaurant Association

Your company has a team of leaders whose focus is to support achieving the company’s mission and goals. That group provides insight to the executive team in the pursuit of driving sales, growing profits, and strategizing for the next five, 10, and 20 years. Your company has a Board of Directors, but do you? Who is your trusted circle that you reach out to and talk to when it comes to your career, goals, and ambitions?

If you don’t have a personal Board of Directors … it is never too late to start!

Who is your board?  Many people may think I am writing about industry mentors. Sure, you may have one or two from your industry, but your board should be those from a variety of walks that will give you straight feedback. Those that have common interests and values with you. Those that you might not talk with often, but know that when you do, they are sincere, with your best interest at hand. When you ask someone to be on your Board of Directors, it might catch them off guard, but take the time to make sure they understand how important this is to you in helping you continue to develop and grow.

When do I talk to them?  It does not have to be a quarterly meeting like you might see in your company, but you should talk to your board at least twice a year. In my case, I reach out individually and tell them how life is going … work, family, social, etc. Keeping them in the loop helps so that when you have that important “life fork-in-the-road” question, they aren’t hearing from you for the first time. Remember, they have a vested interest in helping you. They have some details from previous conversations they can reflect on and the two of you can focus on a specific question or situation that might be on the table.

Can the Board of Directors change?  As you advance your career, your family may grow and life in general changes… you may want to ask new members to join your Board.  That is OK … Board Members can and should change. .  That doesn’t mean you won’t reach out to those from the past, but you can look at those around you and always build new members to maintain a current and supportive Board of Directors.

Will they have the answer?  What I appreciate about those Board Members I call when I have an issue or turning point in my life is that they are there to listen. Sometimes I answer my own questions as I talk to them about the situation. But it is great to have them as a  sounding board to validate my findings. Sometimes, they will make sure you aren’t rushing into things, and that you are looking at all the avenues. I once had a Board Member of mine tell me …. “Let the dust settle, be patient, and see where it all falls.” Great advice as I was ready to go down one path which I thought held the key, but waiting just one day helped me see clearer as the dust settled. The bottom line is that you have to be the one to have the answer, live with your answer, and own your answer. But the exciting thing is that having a Board of Directors will help you along the way.

During my career, as I have had different doors open with opportunities, I have found a Personal Board of Directors an amazing asset to support my development and career growth. I encourage you to go and create your Board of Directors today!

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