Jeff Davidson's book, Simpler Living, was Amazon Kindle #1 in its category, first quarter, 2012. Jeff is featured in the NY Times, Forbes, Chicago Tribune, Businessweek, Fortune, and Organized Executive.

October 2014


In This Edition:
1. Advisory Boards: Empowerment Formalized
2. Here’s How I do It
3. Eliciting Participation

Advisory Boards: Empowerment Formalized

Of all the strategies for “managing the pace with grace”, for getting things done, and for attaining Breathing Space, drawing upon the wisdom of others ranks high up the list. I have an advisory board of directors, and I suggest that you create one as well. Your initial response might be, “Okay, Jeff, you’re an author and a speaker. I can see why people might want to be a member of your advisory board. Me? I simply work at XYZ organization assembling computer chips. Who would want to be on my board?” There are lots of people who would like to be on your board!

If you poll most people whom you know, you’ll find that they’ve never been asked to be on a board in their entire lives. They’ve heard about people on boards, but they’ve never been asked themselves.

Begin to look for people in your immediate surroundings who can be members of your advisory board. These could include people in local associations, one or two people from work, perhaps somebody from your church or community group, and perhaps a mentor as well.

Here’s How I do It

I’ll briefly describe my advisory board so that you’ll have ideas as to who you might choose to be on yours. I have two people from radio, a radio host and a radio manager. I also have a couple of people from associations, both national and local. I have a lawyer or two, a magazine editor and a newspaper editor, a professor, a high school teacher, and three entrepreneurs.

I invite the whole group to dinner twice each year. It doesn’t cost as much as you might think; you can usually feed everyone for under $180.00. I let everyone know in advance what career and business challenges I’d like to tackle at the session.

First we have dinner, usually some kind of smorgasbord or a buffet. Afterwards, I pass out the agenda, which is a repeat of the questions I circulated to them in advance. One by one, we discuss the things that I want to get done, and they freely give me their ideas. I turn on my pocket dictator and capture it all!

I record everything and later carefully transcribe each of those gems. You might think, “Sure, people will come to my advisory board dinner once or twice, but would they come over and over again?” My board has met 14 times and I almost have to laugh because I get requests from people I’ve never met who have said, “So and so is on your board and suggested that you might invite me to be on it as well.”

Eliciting Participation

What if assembling an advisory board is a bit much for you right now? For whatever you’re trying to accomplish, when you want or need to recruit others, you can appeal to people’s reasons for participating.

The following list, origin unknown, frequently appears in chamber of commerce newsletters under the title “inducing people to volunteer.” The breadth and depth of the items on the list speak for themselves.

1. Fill time
2. Repay a perceived indebtedness
3. Because someone they love benefits
4. To set an example for children
5. To work as a family

6. Someone they love is also involved
7. To meet people
8. To please someone else
9. To have fun
10. To gain skills

11. To gain experience
12. To be visible
13. To gain credit
14. To express their religion or belief
15. To find happiness

16. Because of tradition
17. To employ otherwise unused gifts or skills
18. As part of a group
19. To maintain health
20. To explore new learning, ideas

21. To heal
22. To avert loneliness
23. Because of interest
24. As a hobby
25. Out of concern

26. To receive a tax benefit
27. To counter-point paid work
28. As an extension of a job
29. Because they were assigned
30. To survive tragedy (cope)

31. To test leadership skills
32. To gain recognition
33. To acquire self-confidence
34. To be a change agent
35. To right a wrong

36. To work in a safe place
37. To save money
38. To have a purpose
39. To be a good neighbor
40. To get out of the house

41. To keep active
42. To experience new lifestyles
43. To feel a sense of power and success