How to Create Your “Personal” Board of Directors

UPDATED: December 5, 2014
PUBLISHED: December 5, 2014

Your personal board of directors does not refer to a few high-ranking, intellectual individuals advising your company on crucial matters. It refers to that group of people who inspire you, motivate you and challenge you to think beyond. It is the people with whom you surround yourself, whose advice you seek on important personal and professional matters, and who always keep your head straight.

But how do you create such a group?

Determining who deserves to make the cut requires attention to certain considerations. Here are some questions to ask yourself when choosing your personal board of directors:

Who inspires you?
The underlying proposition of a personal board of directors is to gain insight and wisdom from people you have always looked up to or aspired to be. As we progress in our lives, both personally and professionally, we come across more and more people who can teach and enlighten us.

The idea of creating your own board of directors is to do exactly this: Expand your inner circle to include those who can challenge your thinking and escalate you to unreached heights of success.

Is there diversity?
How much do you think you can learn from someone who is exactly like you? Probably not a lot. Include those people who have inspired you despite their starkly different personalities and ways of thinking. The more people there are with different approaches, the more room there is to learn.

In a similar vein, it is wise to include multiple generations—people who are younger than you, some who are older and others the same age. It is also a good idea to bring in people from different professional backgrounds for a diverse set of perspectives.

Who can you trust?
It is impractical to think every member on your board would know you well; some can be mere acquaintances. A smart move would be to include at least one member who knows you well—a person who is aware of your temperament, thinking style and ambitions in life would be in a better position to advise you and give honest feedback. Even if the individual does not add diversity or creative inspiration, having one trusted individual on the board is always a good idea.

Who else can I add?
Your board can always do with more, so constantly be on the lookout for potential valuable additions. Remember, two heads are better than one, and in this case, the adage doesn’t get any truer.

So, are you ready to open the application process for your personal board of directors?

Own a business? Check out the advantages of joining a mastermind group—a team of respected advisers you can go to for business suggestions, solutions and feedback—plus how to find your own and conduct the meetings.

Simon T. Bailey

Simon T. Bailey is an international speaker, writer and personal transformation strategist. He is the author of Shift Your Brilliance: Harness the Power of You, Inc., and Be the SPARK: Five Platinum Service Principles for Creating Customers for Life. When he’s not working, he enjoys rooting for the Buffalo Bills (his hometown team).