Do you have a personal board of advisors?
When you read the subject header, “Do you have a personal board of advisors,” what came to mind? Chances are, some didn’t even open this email as they associate a “board of advisors” with bigger businesses. Many companies have formal advisory boards made up of trusted advisors and thought leaders in a particular industry. They are focused at allowing the leadership of the company a third party sounding board to aid in casting vision and developing big picture strategy. While the concept may be similar, this isn’t the intent of my question. The question is more centered around “you” and your “personal” board of advisors.
Reflecting back on my years in corporate positions, I would tell you that I definitely had great members on my teams who I bounced things off of and even shared a bit of my personal struggles. That being said, due to our working together and, in some cases, having these people report directly to me, it wasn’t easy to maintain a high level of transparency with these individuals. Additionally, since they were in the fire with me, they didn’t really provide that independent third party prospective that is so important in identifying potential blind spots.
On the personal side, I am a part of a church small group that provides somewhat of an advisory board experience. However, these environments are not environments where we typically get into a lot from the business side. Additionally, sometimes these environments are a bit difficult to discuss personal challenges as they are possibly a bit “too close to home”. This isn’t meant to diminish the value of these types of environments; however, it is to say that many don’t find the type of experience I am proposing.
Taking it a step further, we often surround ourselves with mentor or coaching relationships which provide a tremendous amount of value. As a personal coach, I know my clients truly value the ability to open up and share some of their deepest challenges and get feedback. I also know the value of learning from mentor and coaching relationships. Still yet, this doesn’t capitalize on the synergies of a board or team of individuals listening to these challenges and being able to speak into these challenges.
So, what does that personal board of advisors environment look like that I am proposing? Well, let me share just a few characteristics I typically see and personally find value:
- A group of 8 to 15 committed individuals who share common values and a high level of trust.
- A safe & confidential place to share with people who “get it”
- Members committed to work together as each other’s personal Board of Advisors
- Formal structure and criteria for participation which is signed off.
- Financial commitment or “skin in the game” to be a part of such a group of trusted advisors.
- A champion, chairman, or facilitator who is compensated in some means to bring meaningful curriculum and formalize structure to the meeting.
- Members help one another grow their businesses, grow personally, and grow spiritually (if applicable)
- Members are able to provide neutral/unbiased feedback – no “personal interest”
This is simply a list of a few highlights and there is much more to consider when forming your advisory board. Unfortunately, I have seen many try to create this type of environment and it fizzles out after only a few months or even a couple of years. This in itself is another reason to consider having someone with “proven” expertise facilitate your meetings.
For me, this environment has been Truth@Work who facilitates these personal advisory boards for Christian business leaders. For over a decade, they have been facilitating a proven model with an 87% year-over-year retention rate for their members. Truth@Work still has several members from their initial roundtable launched over a decade ago.
I can honestly say that I would likely not be in business today if it weren’t for my Truth@Work advisory board. In additional to providing counsel for my business, this group of individuals has provided sound counsel in the areas of my personal and spiritual life as well. As many of you know, I have become so passionate about the “life and business changing experience” Truth@Work provides with their members that I now facilitate roundtables throughout Indianapolis with virtual roundtables on the horizon. In these monthly meetings, I see life change happen nearly every meeting.
Truth@Work isn’t for everyone, however, the model which includes all of the highlights outlined above is the type of personal board of advisors I highly recommend you find, if not already. Some may say, “Chris, I’m just a housewife” to which I would say, “you” still need the type of environment I am proposing. Life is too short to “go it alone” and we need these types of “unbiased” people in our lives.
If we can help or you’d like to learn more about Truth@Work, please reach out to us to schedule a time to talk.
Have a fantastic day!