Construct a Mentor Board that aligns your personal goals to success

I once heard a quote:

“a good mentor is like a side view mirror. They look out for your blind spots.”

The concept of constructing a mentoring board, also known  as personal board of advisors is described by Glenn Liebowitz, a Inc. columnist and LinkedIn Top Voice, in his article 1 Mentor Isn’t Enough. You Need to Build a Personal Board of Advisers. Your goal as he explains it is to

“appoint a board of directors, advisers who can provide expertise that you lack.”

To build a personal board is not enough, you will want to customize your board to fit your life’s style.  It’s up to you to align your specific career aspirations so you want to establish a board composition with goals in their forefront.

Next, encompass a diverse membership 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 folks I normally may not can communicate with freely in my work environment and provides me a panoramic view. By performing strategic actions, this ensures you have trusted confidants.  Three key steps will lead you to success.

1. 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”.  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 provides invaluable insight into your individual composition and leads to a greater insight about yourself.  

Embrace a periodical tailored to your technical that keeps you abreast of trends in your field and is enjoyable to read.  Subscribe to their publication regularly as well as their social media presence for up-to-dates on workshops and other learning opportunities.  A dual use the group is to locate your mentoring board members or renowned experts in your specialty, Do not limit yourself to people in the geographic areas but apply enhanced technology (Zoom, FaceTime, etc.) to connect. Broaden membership in your personal board of advisers.

Inc equates “a diverse portfolio of investments” to a personal advisory board from multiple sources.”  Go deep and wide to find a conducive learning and development that helps you.
I choose to join professional organizations with people of like ambitions.  It is best to attend in-person and participate in pre-meeting network events to bolster connections.  Take advantage of introductions to key contributors or experts in your field that may not be accessible on a day-to-day basis.  If you are a employed, check to see if professional memberships are covered in benefits. Allow your network to evolve and change.

A personal board develops you and Inc 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. Continual learning positions you to be in a readiness state. Peruse LinkedIn and request informational interviews or follow your favorite company or groups.  Meetup is another tool to link people of common interests. Due the fast pace of change within technology, staying current is a mandatory requirement.  Attend a quarterly workshop or in-house training at the lead vendor site. Keep momentum toward your personal and professional progress.

For additional information, study the following areas:  Mentor board, personal boards.

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

Gain an understanding of the difference between a mentor and a sponsor to propel.

Dr. Denise N. Haskins

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