“Great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people.” ~ Steve Jobs
Frodo Baggins. King Arthur. Katniss Everdeen. What do these storied characters have in common?
Each of them had a big job to do and got it done – but not without input from their group of trusted advisors.
Here’s the thing about embarking on a journey to change things for the better: you’re not alone. While there will most definitely be periods of time when you have to just put your head down and do the work, many core components of what you’re building as a public health innovator have been tackled by others. Here are some examples:
- The fundamentals of a business plan
- How to spread the word about your venture
- What are the best tools to create a website
- How to develop a timeline of goals to achieve big wins
Several years ago, I came across small business coach and brilliant community builder, Pamela Slim. In that time, Pam has taught me an incredible amount on leadership, overcoming obstacles in business and getting things done. In one of our conversations (and what she mentions quite a bit to the innovators & entrepreneurs she works with) is the power of having your own Jedi High Council. Basically, they were a group of powerful and experienced Jedi (yep, Yoda is in there) who contemplated/made decisions of great importance in their world.
Now for those of you who aren’t Star Wars fans and have no idea what I’m talking about, let me break this down a bit more: as someone who is working hard on changing the future of public health, you’re going to want to have advisors that help you make it successfully to your destination. Now, to be clear, this personal advisory board is different than putting together a team that works on your venture with you. These are people that are committed to your personal growth with the important work you’re doing.
Here are 4 ways to make it happen:
- Get Clear on 2-3 Areas of Growth: the clearer you are on how you want help from your advisors, the better off you’ll be. This helps you get started mapping out the growth areas to the work you’re doing and in turn, will make the selection process more effective. Make sure to have a clear way of describing what you’re working on as well. As with many aspects of life, diving into something with importance (and this is important!) without a plan is usually a bad idea. And in this case, has the potential to waste your time, someone else’s time and muddy up relationships. Not what we want.
- Quality vs Quantity: if there is one important thing that I’ve learned over the years, it’s that it will be a lot harder for you to execute on your goals when you have too many (often times, self inflicted) things to do. This means saying yes to things that aren’t important or having too many people giving you advice. When gathering a team to bolster your body of work, you want to not only keep it to a handful of people but also that these people have skin in the game. They have been through the ups and downs of building something and have successfully made it to the other side. Remember, if less is more, you want to make sure each person has something of high quality to offer that will push your growth forward & help you to avoid missteps. Which leads us to the next point.
- Diversify Your Portfolio: while you’re solving a pain point in the health landscape, the people you look to for advice do not all need to belong there. As a matter of fact, I would highly encourage you to select members from outside of health. By diversifying your personal advisory board, you get the benefit of fresh ideas and insights that can totally give you a new perspective on your work. For example, one of the dynamic members of my own board is a highly accomplished young businesswoman in NYC who knows how to build companies from the ground up & how to effectively develop customer insights.
- Dig Into Your Network: with platforms like LinkedIn, it’s gotten pretty easy to visualize the people you’ve connected with in the professional world. Are you looking to get smarter at business? See if you’re linked with an executive that has the experiences you’re looking for. Is global health something you’re zeroing in on with your work? Find someone who has worked in various countries. Often times with your advisory board, this won’t be a cold introduction so let that work in your favor.
There you have it! Now is the perfect time to start the ball rolling on this. People are getting back to work after the summer and generally have a mindset to be of value before the holidays are upon us. Also, once you begin these conversations and begin building your own board, you’ll be able to start planning for a stellar 2017 with more focus/vigor.
Have any success stories of building your own personal advisory board? I want to know!