CEOs at large organizations usually have a network of close advisors, c-suite executives, and stakeholders who hold them accountable for achieving important tasks.
In her book Building Career Equity, expert consultant Jan Torrisi-Mokwa proposes that we all do the same. This idea could be especially beneficial if you don’t have the kind of built-in accountability that a top corporate job provides. Creating your own “board of directors” can help you reevaluate your relationship with your work, clarify your goals, make more meaningful strides in your personal and professional development, and improve your decision-making.
Here are six people you should consider offering seats on your board.
An established, experienced professional in your field can be an invaluable resource. Think about someone you know who has had the kind of career that you’re envisioning when you look out on your trajectory. That pro could share lessons they learned, mistakes they want you to avoid, and feedback on your next big idea.
Business coaches can provide some of the same insights a mentor does, but often with a higher level of systemization and accountability. There might be room for both a mentor and a coach on your board. But if you’re the kind of person who commits more to things you schedule and pay for, you might appreciate the extra level of structure that you’ll get from a coaching relationship.
Talking to academics can give you a unique perspective on trends that are reshaping your business, as well as related fields and the broader economy. But with the wealth of online classes and continuing education programs that have sprung up for adults, you could also take classes outside your comfort zone that will expand how you think about your career, or develop new skills that will help you pivot to something new. Perhaps a deep dive into the history of where you live will help you rethink your company’s connection to its community. Brush up on your French skills and your career prospects might expand across the pond.
Do you know someone who seems to know everyone? If not, you might want to explore professional organizations that can broaden your connections. You could start with your local Chamber of Commerce or Rotary Club. Groups like YPO (for CEOs of larger companies) and EO (entrepreneurs and small business owners) organize their members into forums where they can talk shop with other professionals. And getting more active on social networks like LinkedIn could help you deepen connections that you already have and identify potential board members.
5. Family and Friends
The people who know you the best are the best equipped to know when you’re struggling, when you need extra support, and when it’s time to celebrate. If you tend to keep business and family separate, consider sharing more of your long-term plans with your spouse, siblings, parents, or a close friend. While the other people on this list will probably focus on your professional progress, loved ones can help you stay true to yourself and find the balance you need to excel in both business and life. And on those days when your goals feel too far away from that comfy spot on your couch, a loved one will be there to get you on your feet.
6. Financial Advisor
OK, we may be a little biased on this one. But we’re also very confident that our planning process can help you take in the big picture, establish goals, track your progress, course-correct when necessary, and get the best life possible with the money you have.
And whenever your life and your money are at a crossroads, we want to be on your speed dial.
This article was prepared for Aaron Larson’s use.