I have a virtual board of advisors and I “meet” with them every quarter. It’s amazing how profound their advice can be. I feel so strongly about this process that I’m encouraging you to elect your own such board. Here’s how it works.
- I of course follow the world of business very closely, and there are people (mostly founders and CEOs) that I admire for certain traits. I may not necessarily like them as some can be quite ruthless, but I admire that they have gone into arenas filled with lions and come out on top.
- The key is to have read enough about these individuals over time that you can actually predict how they would answer a given question, or deal with a certain challenge. For example, Jeff Bezos, the founder and Chairman of Amazon, is on my Board of Advisors and I can be pretty sure that no matter what I’m discussing, he will be in favor of aggressively scaling, using technology to the max, and being incredibly patient to see results. I don’t always like that advice (especially the patience part!) but I do take note of it. After all, he’s earned a few more billion than I have.
- I always keep a list of topics that would be worthy of bringing up to my board of advisors. I might add 2-3 bullet points a week as ideas occur to me. As just one example, I’m planning to finally launch the 24-week Interior Design MBA Program in January of 2020. How should I do that? Direct mail? Find a big sponsor or partner? Little by little or go big or go home? I can hear very clearly in my head what my advisors like Bezos and Larry Ellison (Oracle CEO) and Dan Kennedy (direct marketing guru) and Cheryl Sandburg (Facebook COO) would tell me, and it’s not always what you might think.
- I typically hold my “meetings” on a long walk or drive, dictating questions and answers into my trusty digital recorder. Later that day, I’ll upload the recording to my computer and write up a summary, hopefully complete with some action items.
Of course it’s entirely possible that in your arena, you may want to identify some design icons to serve on your Board of Advisors as well. But since my role in life (and in your life) is to focus on the business side, that’s who I suggest you identify. Three to five will be plenty and, of course, they can change over time.
But for now, select your Board of Advisors and schedule the first meeting. Envision it in your mind as realistically as possible and don’t waste their time! Make it count and use their advice to rapidly achieve your goals.