Do you have a personal boardroom? Who is in it?

Posted by: on Jan 5, 2015 | No Comments

I recently met Zella King, author of the newly published Who is in your Personal Boardroom?. It was great to meet with her and talk about the book, based on her previous academic study, which provides a way of thinking about a personal network that would specifically and purposefully move you towards your individual career and leadership goals.

This blog has featured a number of articles, vlogs and podcasts on different aspects of one’s network and the Personal boardroom gives lots of specific roles that people in our “peers, mentors and champions” categories can provide for you. Her boardroom specifies 12 roles – which may be 12 different individuals or can be fewer people who wear more than one hat. The categories are:

Information roles

  • Customer voice – someone who helps you understand markets, customers and business opportunities
  • Expert – someone who gives advice based on their sector or challenge-specific expertise
  • Inspirer – someone who inspires new ideas and brings fresh thinking
  • Navigator – someone who can tell you who you need to know and who does what

Power roles

  • Unlocker – someone who provides access to resources (e.g. money, data, people’s time)
  • Sponsor – someone who speaks out to endorse you and your ideas to senior or important people
  • Influencer – someone who works behind the scenes to win support and helps you get things done
  • Connector – someone who makes introductions and connects you with people who can help you

Development roles

  • Improver – someone who gives candid, constructive feedback on your performance and development
  • Challenger – someone who challenges your decisions and thinking and helps you see your errors and blind spots
  • Nerve-giver – someone who strengthens your resolve at difficult times and gives you a sense of purpose
  • Anchor – someone who keeps you grounded and holds you to account for the balance between your work and the rest of your life

Having encouraged you to specify the purpose and goal that the Personal Board will help you fulfil, the book goes on to help you generate the list of possible people to sit around your virtual boardroom table. It also then provides guidance in framing the conversations (purposeful conversations) that will get the people you have chosen – literally – on board!

While the book is aimed at those in corporate roles I think it is perfect for small businesses and established freelancers (the “businesses of one”) to use. Working in these contexts can be isolated. It has certainly made me think that perhaps my personal boardroom is relatively small and that I perhaps rely quite heavily on three or four individuals to carry out all 12 roles.

So in 2015 I will be setting out to formulate and formalise Creative Shift’s informal steering committee or “brains trust” and using Zella’s identified roles as a route map for creating an inspiring winning team.

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