I started up my Board of Advisors this week. Of the 5 people whom I looked at as potential candidates I talked to all five this week and four agreed to be on my board. Which was a great response rate. I had talked to the 4 prior to my meetings this week so they knew what to expect. The 5th declined on account of begin to busy to be able to help.
So I guess the first lesson is that if you ask someone to be on your board they may say no. Hopefully that person will be able to say ‘no’ in a dignified manner that does not make it look like you were dumb to ask. Incidentally if you are asked to be on a Board, or informal advisor to an Associate and do not have the time please don’t bite the Associate’s head off. It takes some courage on the part of the Associate to ask and a negative reaction from a potential Advisor may sour them on the whole process.
As preparation for each meeting I prepared a set of slides that:
- Described the expectations of the Advisor
- Outlined the goals I set for myself for the next 3 years
- Who the Board members were
- Strengths and Weaknesses as they related to my job and area(s) to improve
Each meeting was conducted one-on-one with each Advisor and the slides helped to provoke discussion and areas to focus the Advisor and me over the next 6 months. Each meeting lasted between 30-60 minutes.
The 2nd lesson I learned, was that the perspective that others have on what you perceive as a weaknesses was the most interesting part of the first meeting. Sometimes what you think is a weakness can be a hidden strength and listening to others describe why can be invigorating. The goal in addressing a weakness is not to make you into a rock star in that area but to at least be competent or improve your self confidence in that specific area so you can focus on improving in other areas where you can excel and differentiate yourself.
The results of the meetings generated some tasks for me to help address areas that the Advisor and myself could work on. This included some research into classes available as well as looking for specific measurable goals for the Advisor and myself to track.
Also, the 3rd lesson I learned, is that the Advisors will want to know about each other, I did not elect to have a group meeting to start since between myself and the Advisors we live in 5 different states and work for 3 different companies so finding a mutual time would have delayed things. However at the end of all my meetings I did send out a summary email to all of the Advisors that summarized the meetings and gave some background on each Advisor. They agreed to be mentioned on this blog so they may check here for additional info.