One of the smaller segments of the recent planning workshop that I co-hosted was to create your personal/professional advisory board.
We dug deeply into vision, mission, mindset, strategy and goal setting in the seminar. This idea of identifying people you would like to consult with for high level advice was one of the ancillary topics of the interactive day.
It stuck with me however as one of the most unique and important parts of the event, and I was intrigued by some of the complexities of the idea.
If you are trying to move a business or personal ventures forward, who would you choose to ask advice from, if you could choose anyone?
Because that possibility exists if you are entertaining it!
Asking myself the question, my first thoughts were of people I already knew and worked with such as coaches, financial advisors, spiritual friends… people in my world currently.
However, my co-host began to name off celebrities and thought leaders she would like on her advisory team that had not occurred to me.
Remember, when we are talking about this level of advisory, we are not referring to mentors who meet regularly with you and know your business or venture intimately. These are people taking a 30,000 foot view and providing their expertise and sometimes actionable advice a few times a year.
My assumption is that the value you place on that relationship will create organic accountability, creating drive to work toward the actions they suggest or that emerge within you as a result of their advice.
Building your dream advisory board:
- Begin by thinking about some of the people you know and may even do business with (like your CPA) and ask yourself if you make the most of that relationship. Do you talk about the kids and vacations when you meet up or do you actively seek their counsel on your business? Their advice may be of great value but if you don’t ask for it, they may assume you want them to just focus on the task at hand (taxes for example) and not the bigger picture. Change the conversation to access their expertise.
- Think beyond the people you know personally to those you know of. I’m sure that there are people you would love to meet and speak with about your business or life who never enter your mind as possible advisors. Who do you read about, follow online, or have knowledge of through circles you engage in?
Would it be a thrill to sit down with any of them for a brief conversation and to ask key questions about their journey or your ideas?
- When you do think of people you’d like to meet and speak with, how do you ask? I like spontaneity, but in this case, I prefer a planned approach. Learn what you can about the person, and where they can be found. Can you connect on LinkedIn, directly message them on a social media platform, find their website? Perhaps they can be found in person, speaking or training. Make the connection, introduce yourself and follow them for a bit before asking for anything. Take time to understand the specifics of how they might participate on your advisory team.
- To pique their interest when the time is right, focus on your bigger vision for what you want to achieve in your business or project. If you believe they are aligned with a vision such as yours, they could be a good fit and will be more likely to want to learn more about your goals. Generally, people involve themselves with a person or a vision they feel good supporting.
- A “no” may be a “not now” or “not this.” Do not let a “no” or two stop you from asking others. It can feel like rejection or have you questioning yourself, but recognize that is your mind attempting to protect you from pain, and not necessarily helpful in manifesting your dreams. Kamala Harris says, “I eat no for breakfast.” Not a bad way to deal with the word! If you are being turned down, keep asking. Perhaps your approach needs some adjustments, but there are others who can and will say yes. And, they will likely be the right ones.
If this sounds like a great idea, start putting together your ideal list of who might be on your advisory team, either now or in the future. If you aren’t so sure about the idea, allow it to grow on you and examine some of the beliefs you may have around the idea. Are you selling yourself short in some way? Believing enough in yourself or your vision? The answers may reveal the best reason to find a group who can also get behind what you are trying to do, and bolster your sense of purpose and determination.