Organize a personal board of directors

A few years ago I learned two important lessons from a business class. First: I have the natural business sense of a potato. Second: it’s a great idea to organize and maintain a personal board of directors. Years later, I’ve realized this strategy is applicable to much more than business. Home organization, parenting, and, yes, career decisions can all be advised by a qualified team of your own choosing.

When the school I worked for closed in 2009, I found myself jobless in an economy that was not friendly to the unemployed. After failing to quickly find a new job, I decided to peddle my skills and go to work for myself. A friend suggested that I take a class offered by a small business development firm in my neighborhood. It was the best advice I got that year.

This group helped me devise a plan, identify my marketable skills, and refine what I had to offer. It all culminated in making a presentation to a small board of professionals: which I bombed. It was humbling. After the smoke cleared, the group’s leader pulled me aside. “You just need some focus,” she said. “I think I can help.”

She and I spoke a few times and that one-on-one help was terrific. I went on to meet other people who were doing what I wanted to do, both in person and online. Five years later, I have a group of five or six people I can call on when I need guidance. Each excels in an area that’s troublesome for me. Most importantly, they’re not afraid to tell me, “Dave, that’s a very bad idea.” You do not want “yes men” on your personal board. You want honest, intelligent people who’ve got your interests in mind.

Now as I said, this needn’t be restricted to business. As it relates to organizing your home, office, or life, hire a professional organizer or look for groups that meet up with some regularity (meetup.com is a great way to do this) or even find a friend who has an extremely good set of organizing skills to help you. Ask questions, discuss your troubled areas, brainstorm, and then try out the suggestions. Search through old posts here on Unclutterer and see if we can spark some ideas to discuss with your organizing board.

Maybe you want to discuss parenting, personal productivity, or whatever section of your life is causing you stress. Calling on your personal board of directors is a great way to go to learn what they’re doing and what strategies they think may be able to help you. Perhaps you’ll even fill that role for someone else and return the favor.

3 Comments for “Organize a personal board of directors”

  1. posted by Tanya on

    I couldn’t agree more, David! We so often think that asking for help is a sign of weakness. In fact, it’s a sign of great strength and desire. And frankly, it’s a huge gift to the others in our life who get invited in (and in turn, get to learn tons about themselves and their own skills and mastery).

    I created a program called Board of Your Life that helps people devise and create this kind of thing. Selecting is no small feat. Nor is knowing how to facilitate it.

  2. posted by Verity on

    This is a helpful article! I am a homemaker with four small children, but after giving this some thought, I can see how it really can apply to anyone – even me as a stay at home mom.

    I think we all naturally look for ideas from people, but to set up a Tool Box of counselors is brilliant.

  3. posted by Alix on

    What a fantastic idea! But a tough challenge, too, in assembling such a team.

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