Non-profits, corporations, and YOU should all have something in common…a board of directors or advisers. Recently I was interviewed on a radio show and one of the topics that we discussed was women business owners. Naturally as women we are far more invested in the emotional aspects of our company and our lives. We cry and mourn over things we could have done better and beat ourselves over decisions that we can not change. However, what I believe sets any business owner apart from the pack is a personal board of directors. Now your company might have a board of directors that falls in line with your articles of formation or the other legal formalities the government puts in place but your personal board of directors is different.
These individuals should know about your business but should also know about your individual “worth”; they are invested in you as a person, your brand, and the bigger picture for you outside of business. The bottom line is that they will nail you against the wall, encourage you, mentor you, serve as a resource, and become your biggest advocate.
The difference between this board of directors and your company BOD is that there aren’t many group meetings, the conversation is usually less formal, but the results of your relationship is far beyond numbers and graphs. Some of these individuals will probably not know anything about your industry but they know you and their investment is just as valuable.
Are you looking to create your own personal board of directors? Or do you already have one but need a refresher? Here are some qualifications that will help you “fill” the position(s).
Candid–I recently heard a term at a workshop that I instantly fell in love with; caring candor. You really want someone around you who will tell it like it is. The goal is not to hurt your feelings or be rude but rather to truthfully and sometimes bluntly give you a much needed reality check.
Reliable–no, you should not be able to call them and they drop everything but these individuals are pivotal to your growth so you need to be accountable to you. You should be able to call on them as an accountability partner from time to time and know that they will be there… without spite.
Knowledge–they should almost be expert like and be verse in their industry. The idea is that you need people around you who challenge you. Remember, if you are the smartest in your circle then your circle is too small.
Diverse–you will want to have a diverse team of people you can call on for counsel. They should range in age, cultural background, and industry as you will want a range of perspectives as you are moving through life and business decisions.
Inspiring–your board of directors should inspire you to push harder than you ever have and hold you accountable for not doing so. They will motivate you to a point where you will know that they only have your best interest as they call you to wake you up every morning or send you messages throughout the day.
Remember, you need positions on your BOD just as your company does. So don’t forget you at least need your treasurer (accountant), secretary (business manager), and chairman (senior adviser/mentor).
One of the most important elements of your BOD is to evaluate with them often. Just like in the case of a traditional board, some people will roll off and have fulfilled their term and some need to stay a little longer or move into another position. Don’t feel bad about ensuring you have the best team around you. #LearnHowToBeSelfish!
Kia Jarmon is a brand strategist and PR coach with boutique public relations firm, The MEPR Agency, based in Nashville, TN. She speaks, blogs, mentors, and is soon to be an author. You can find more information at her personal brand site, www.KiaJarmon.com.