This is a concept I had been mulling for years. Until one day, I realized I already had a personal board of directors. The light bulb went off when I read a WSJ article, on eight tips for setting up a network of mentors. The article draws from a concept called developmental networks.
For a better understanding of developmental networks, listen to this interview I did with one of the authors of the article, Dawn Chandler. The interview was originally posted on site for an online networking group that I run. (You’ll hear me make references to principles of “networking naturally.”)
Networking has allowed me to find mentors to fill gaps that I have as an entrepreneur–e.g., finance, marketing, experience in starting up a company that required more than just me to run it. This past summer, as I was deep into the formation of My Alumni Link as a business, I was tapping into at least half a dozen mentors on different topics. We were meeting on a regular basis, on specific areas of expertise pertinent to that mentor and what I needed as an entrepreneur. Photo by Biology Big Brother.
One of the best ideas of developmental networks is that the sharing is mutual. I have something to give to my mentor as much as he/she has to give to me. I think of this as co-creating (one of those coaching terms that comes in handy to describe collaboration in a new way.)
Who is on your personal board of directors? Start networking to find your board if you don’t already have one.