I got talking to my accountability coach yesterday, and she brought to mind a subject I’d really like to share with you today.
It’s something that as an entrepreneur who spends the majority of the time by himself and communicating with people who ultimately follow my instructions I’m in desperate need of.
I just didn’t know this was actually something that people formally do.
And that’s having a ‘Personal Board of Directors’.
Such a brilliant idea that exactly underlines something I’ve been lacking in my life and am seeking to immediately institute in a bid to get the advice that I feel that I need.
Let’s go through my plans and how I plan to use this to help me grow.
What Is The Problem That Most Entrepreneurs/Ambitious People Have?
If you’re reading this you’re probably like me – and struggle with all of the various ideas you have – and when you do get advice – it’s scattered, informal, and often in relation to ONE aspect of your journey.
For me specifically – one of the things I spent the backend of 2020 doing was getting advice in specific buckets from people around me that I trust – which has worked excellently in terms of bettering myself.
This has been Craig Campbell who’s helped me with SEO strategy, Paul Lovell whose helped me with tactical SEO implementation, Max Newton whose helped with sales training and then Valentina Kbedi as my accountability coach and Chris Sowers with my content.
Notably – I don’t have anyone to talk about my overall journey.
Am I being stupid and diluting my focus too much? Am I being busy doing a lot of things when I should just focus upon one? But I get bored all the time – so maybe this IS the way to maintain a high level of achievement in my day job with Pearl Lemon?
What about the latest crazy idea that I have?
I’m positive you all have versions of the same thing – and having a dedicated group of people to work upon this with would help me make sure the overall picture is still making sense.
What Is A Personal Board Of Directors Then?
This is the first place to begin then in seeking to get advice from the right people.
A personal board of directors are several people that are not directly connected to your work or you personally (e.g your staff/your boss/your parents) – and are able to offer you differing levels of support which could include but are not limited to:
Critical Feedback On Your Ideas – this could giving opinions about your plans for the business, whether good or bad
Giving You Moral Support – it’s important when you’re working alone to get support from people around you that you respect and can reconfirm that the path you’re on is the right one
Help You Make Decisions – When embarking upon a new project that may take up a solid amount of your time – it’s always worth sense checking this to ensure that the path actually makes sense
Playing Devils Advocate With Your Ideas – ensuring that your ideas are well thought through and that you’ve considered the risks associated with all of your plans
Getting An Outside Opinion – when you’re ‘in it’ – it’s important to get an outside opinion on your path to open up things you haven’t considered
Having Your Thesis Tested – you’ll have ideas about things, and by merely having a meeting to justify your next actions – it’ll make you think about them more carefully
Self-Therapy – this one is underestimated. There’s so much power in simply just talking about things out loud – it can often help you come to powerful conclusions.
Finding A Personal Board Of Directors
This part is a matter of experimentation in my opinion. It needs to be people that know you, and are not directly connected to your work.
I question whether you’ll have any success asking people you don’t know – but I think that finding people within your network who you’re on good terms with is an excellent place to start.
I’ll give you some examples of who I’m asking so you see what I mean –
Daniel Botcherby – a running and old university friend of mine. He’s just raised some seed/angel funding and has a good amount of experience
Mike Boham – he’s another old university friend of mine and has a background in consulting whilst right now he’s pursuing a startup he’s running
Max Newton – he’s a sales consultant/agency owner and I met him through a mutual client we have
Craig Campbell – he’s a former agency owner (9 years), SEO expert and I’ve known him through SEO for around 2 years now
Valentina Kbedi – my accountability coach I found on coach.me – we’ve already spoken about her 🙂
All of these people may say no, but it’s where I’m starting and should give some insight on how I’m thinking about bringing people in
Personal Board Of Directors Exercise
So once Valentina opened up this kimono for me when we had our initial conversation about this – she suggested that an excellent weekly exercise I could embark upon – as a kind of board of directors exercise is:
‘Prepare a worksheet or presentation of ideas that you’re planning to move forward with, or whatever it is you’re currently working on so that you can present it to me – or send to me before our meeting to enable me to ask a proper question about it’
So having a weekly/bi-weekly/monthly/quarterly meeting with an exercise framed around this is probably a powerful way to ensure you make the most out of such meetings.
Personal Board Of Directors Template
To make this easier here’s a simple template you can use to map out a framework in your mind of the kinds of things you can bring to your personal board of directors meeting:
Here’s one for the initial meeting:
- Describe (if known) your overall goal (in business and life)
- List your current projects
- List out the reasons for doing these projects
- Outline the time commitment per project
- List out how closely aligned these projects are with your overall goal(s)
- Discuss your biggest challenges with each project
- Describe your general approach to business and the projects you run
This would be an excellent way of kicking off your initial meeting – and in fact, this could be something that you write up or something that you record via video as prep for the call – if only to go over it again in the main meeting
Once this has all been established I’d then look at this personal board of directors template (part 2 if you will) as what to examine on an ongoing basis:
- What progress have you made since our last meeting?
- Insights and analysis on what went well, what went wrong?
- What are you currently working on?
- What’s your current biggest challenge?
- How are you planning on fixing this?
I think if you stick to this approach then it’ll be (I hope) a highly effective way to conduct your personal board of directors meetings.
You could even grab those questions and google some more questions based upon other blogs and turn it into something of a worksheet.
However, I think as a first exercise the ‘personal board of directors worksheet’ above is a solid place to start!
Board Of Directors Structure
Now, this part might be a little bit more challenging if like me you’re planning to work with several people on different timetables in different timezones.
The way I would address this is by the following:
Approach them all with what you want and how you’d like to set it up.
If that’s not feasible for them – i.e a f2f meeting structure – then it’s probably important to structure this in a way that suits everybody.
So overall, it could be structured in an email/whatsapp/zoom call style format where you seek the advice from everybody – and they respond in their own time.
Practically speaking, assuming you’re not going to pay these people – this is the most probable way it will play out.
Types Of Boards of Directors
I did a quick Google of this because I think it’s in some way important to understand how to effectively manage your board of directors:
So there’s governing board, working board, advisory board, managing or executive board, cooperative board, policy or carver board, cortex board.
I don’t think you need to understand what each and every kind of board is – but it’s worthwhile understanding the nuances a little because it’ll help inform how you set up and structure your board of directors.
It also helps you understand the function of a board of directors.
So when you think about governance of your organization, you can look at your company (or in my case the overall Pearl Lemon Group’s) interests.
A working board of directors ISN’T where I recommend you start but the truth is – for many people it IS a practical place to start and worthy of consideration. This is where you can invite some of your staff to sit on an advisory board as well to get their insights and opinions.
To be honest there probably is some value to this in your personal board of directors.
The other types of boards of directors are compositions when there is actually no CEO in place and so the managing board of directors decides upon thing – an LLP Law Firm (just watch Suits) is a great example of this.
Interestingly – now that I’ve looked it up – a policy or carver board sounds like what a presidency will have lol – where the board will make decisions which the president (e.g the outgoing Donald Trump) will probably have.
Although I know many people would dispute that.
Chairman of the Board of Directors
I think it’s worth keeping in mind that in some ways there WILL, even in a personal board of directors – be something of a chairman.
Typically this refers to the person who is ultimately responsible for directing the energy of all of the people who are on the board – but in this context, I think about it differently.
This will be the person from whom you get the most regular and compelling advice to help you drive forward.
This is absolutely an idea I’m excited to implement to see what value it can drive in my life.
It’s definitely something that I’ve needed for a long-time and never appreciated it has a specific definition and terminology – which as we should all do – I’m taking from and trying to make it my own.
I hope this concept helps you as I believe it will help me.
I’ve got so many bloody ideas that having a team onside (whether paid/unpaid) to help you navigate your personal and professional journey is I believe an excellent way to ensure the path you’re on is the right path for you!