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.”
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
6. Someone they love is also involved
11. To gain experience
16. Because of tradition
21. To heal
26. To receive a tax benefit
31. To test leadership skills
36. To work in a safe place
41. To keep active