Fast track your Career – Construct a Mentor Board for Success

“a good mentor is like a side view mirror. They look out for your blind spots.”   Author Unknown
Where’s Your Blind Spot? – Toastmaster International

 

The concept of constructing a mentoring board, also known as a personal board of advisors. The personal board process and benefits are described in an Inc. article entitled Mentor Isn’t Enough. You Need to Build a Personal Board of Advisers. Your goal, in completing in this exercise, as Inc explains, should be to “appoint a board of directors, advisers who can provide expertise that you lack.” To build a personal board is not enough, you want to customize your board to fit your lifestyle.  It’s up to you to align your specific career aspirations so you establish a board composition with your goals at the forefront.

Next, encompass a diverse membership for your personal to provide you varied perspectives. For me, as an African American woman, I intentionally selected a white male, white female, black male, and black female. The demographic makeup should not matter but this technique of intentional selection exposes me to people I normally may not can communicate with freely in my work environment and provides me a “panoramic view.” By performing strategic actions, this ensures I have trusted confidants.

Three key steps will lead you to success in crafting a personal board.

Develop Self Awareness  
According to Inc., “creating a helpful board of advisers depends largely on an individual’s accurate assessment of his or her strengths and weaknesses;” “do the work to know you.”
(1) Employ journals, learning logs, and other after-action reviews.” To truly know you, I feel it is best to take an assessment: (Myers-Briggs Type Indicators, Disc, etc.) to name a few. Tools provide invaluable insight into your individual composition, leading to greater insight about yourself. 
(2) Adopt a periodical to read regularly that matches your technical interests to stay abreast of trends in your field so you embrace the readings. 
(3) Subscribe to your professional organization’s publication regularly as well as their social media presence for up-to-date information on workshops and other learning events.  This engagement provides a dual use: to locate your perfect fit of mentoring board members or renowned experts in your specialty. Do not limit yourself to people in your geographic areas, but apply enhanced technology outreach (Zoom, LinkedIn, Gotomeeting, etc.) to connect with your board members.  

Broaden membership in your personal board of advisers.
The Inc. article equates this process to creating: “a diverse portfolio of investments” … a personal advisory board from multiple sources.” Go deep and wide to find a conducive learning and development environment that helps you. Choose to join professional organizations with people of like ambitions.  I find the highest “return on investment (ROI)” is best attained when you attend in-person and participate in pre-meeting network events to bolster connections.  Later after you are familiar with the stakeholders, you may attend online webinars. Take advantage of introductions to key contributors (track your new contact) or experts in your field who may not be accessible to you on a day-to-day basis.  If you are employed, check to see if professional memberships are covered as a benefit by your employer or university through a grant.  If you are in a job transition, you may consider using professional membership dues coverage as a negotiation point when securing your next position.  

Allow your network to evolve and change

A personal board develops you and the Inc article precludes that:

“one evolves over time as one’s career unfolds and one’s life changes”.

You may need to (hire or fire) persons on your board to advance over time. Continual learning positions you to be in a readiness state. Peruse LinkedIn and request brief informational interviews with folks you admire or match your professional aspirations (no more than 20 minutes). Another technique is follow your favorite company or join a group on LinkedIn or Google Hangout.  Meetup.com is another excellent tool to link people of common interests. Due to the fast pace of change within technology, staying current is a mandatory requirement. Attend a quarterly workshop or in-house training at a leading vendor site. Keep momentum going toward your personal and professional progress. Be intentional and pay attention – Productivityist

Takeaway:

a) Know the difference between a mentor and sponsor when constructing a personal board.

b) Know your strengths and areas of improvement

c) Be strategic and who why you selected members of your personal and the key objective for adding this person to your personal board portfolio

Benefit: Gain an understanding of the difference between a mentor and a sponsor to propel yourself to a new level in your civic engagements, organizations, or school/university.

“A mentor talks to you, and a Sponsor speaks for you” 

Carol Fulp on Momentum Advisors on SiriusXM Urban View( Aug 18, 2019)

For additional information, study the following areas:  Mentor board, Personal boards, Mentors, and Sponsors.

Article Author: Glenn Leibowitz

Assessment tools: Myers-Briggs Type Indicators, Disc

Book Reference: “Forget a Mentor, Get A Sponsor” by Sylvia Ann Hewlett 

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