Every Leader Should Have a “Board of Directors”

The idea that we should all have a personal “Board of Directors” is not new.

Your Board is the group of trusted individuals, selected by you, who can help you on your personal leadership and career development journey.

What is new is that there is now a free, downloadable toolkit that sets out a step-by-step approach to creating your own Board.

By approaching the creation of the right support network in a thoughtful and choice-full way, the designers say that you will:

  • Reduce your reliance on luck
  • Maximise the impact of your “Board”
  • Accelerate your development
  • Increase your chances of achieving your ambitions

The designers are Fiona Gifford and Rachel Calder. They met in the summer of 2011 when they were involved in the early stages of the development of a social enterprise aimed at supporting women leaders to achieve their ambitions. Fiona and Rachel wanted to do something really practical and scalable; so “My Board of Directors” was born.

Fiona explains:
“None of us succeeds alone; we have all had some help along the way. This is simply a way of not leaving that to chance.”

Fiona recalls a heated debate about whether the UK should have diversity quotas in the Boardroom:
“People were very passionate and getting really animated. The argument “for” was largely that nothing would change without quotas. If things were going to change organically, they would have done so by now. I found myself asking – what would happen if every woman in Scotland gave another woman a helping hand to achieve her ambitions – what would the cumulative effect be?”

Much later, when Fiona and Rachel were discussing how to make the Toolkit available to as many people as possible, Rachel came up with a great idea:
“I remembered watching a programme about the Jamie Oliver “Pass it On Campaign”. Jamie taught a group of people to cook a simple dish and they committed to teach it to others, who also passed it on. It seemed like a really efficient way to make change happen quickly. So we borrowed the idea for ‘My Board of Directors’.”

The Toolkit consists of seven simple exercises that you can complete all at once, or over several sittings. You can do this alone, with a coach, or with friends or colleagues.

The seven steps are:

  1. Future Mapping – a process of exploring the possible futures that could unfold for you. In the process, you consider both what is “known” and “unknown”.
  2. Future Challenges – exploring and assessing the challenges that your Future Map may hold for you and examining your feelings about these.
  3. Dreaming – articulating the futures you most desire.
  4. “Board Members” – identifying what roles you need on your Board of Directors.
  5. Gap analysis – thinking about the resources you already have to fill the roles, what gaps there are and whether there are other ways to fill the gaps.
  6. Recruitment – creating a prioritised plan for recruiting your “Board”
  7. Contracting – how to set up the right relationships from the beginning

There is also a list of useful websites and other resources.

Although the idea for “My Board of Directors” was originally conceived as a toolkit for women professionals and leaders. It is available for anyone who can use it.

Fiona and Rachel have given their time and expertise to this initiative and Fiona’s company has sponsored the website. All they ask is that you “pay a small fee” by passing it on, lending your coaching, mentoring, networking or other support to another emerging leader, or contributing in some other practical way.

Fiona concludes:
“We are so excited to make this contribution and hope that people will engage with the “pass it on” idea. The feedback from the people who generously participated in the pilot last year was amazing. Now it’s time for us to just let go and see what happens.”

To access the download website and find out more, go to http://www.myboardofdirectors.org

About the Creators

Fiona Gifford is Director of The Performance Collective. She has over twenty five years’ personal experience of leading and developing high performing teams and is a passionate team and 1:1 coach. You can contact Fiona at fiona@theperformancecollective.co.uk

Rachel Calder is Director of First Potential.

She is an experienced, certified and accredited Performance Consultant, specialising in MindBody Intelligence.

You can contact Rachel at rachel@firstpotential.com

 

 

 

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