As you plan your own 2012 career and financial strategy, perhaps you are considering a career transition. Even if you are not transitioning out of one sector for another, having a personal board of advisors is a great idea for any executive to help actualize and strategize career goals. The author of Who’s Got Your Back, Keith Ferrazzi, calls it a “Lifeline Group." In the book, Ferrazzi says:

"Behind every great leader, at the base of every great tale of success, you will find an indispensable circle of trusted advisors, mentors, and colleagues. These circles come in all forms and sizes and can be found at every level and in nearly all spheres of both professional and personal life.  What they all have in common is a unique kind of connection with each other that I’ve come to call lifeline relationships."

A trusted circle, outside of family, friends, and colleagues, to engage, share ideas, and consult with is a valuable career management resource for any executive. A network of confidants that will remain objective and offer new perspectives can help executives more clearly actualize and strategize career goals in a way that advice from friends, family members, and work associates cannot.

For those executives seeking to transition from one industry or role to another, a personal board of directors can be especially beneficial as it allows the opportunity to invite someone from that sector into your group. Furthermore, everyone in the group will bring his or her own contacts and expertise to the table, which can also result in additional connections to, or insight into, a specific industry.

When putting together your personal board of directors, keep it intimate enough in size to be helpful for all, yet not so small that it becomes too chummy--4 or 5 professionals is a good size. Remember, objectivity is the key, so your board should be comprised of acquaintances, friends of friends, or LinkedIn connections, but not close friends, family, or coworkers. Make sure your own personal board is not just for you--make it beneficial for everyone involved by including professionals from different industries and backgrounds who can offer a diversity of perspectives, expertise, and contacts. Schedule meetings monthly or quarterly--whatever makes sense for everyone in the group--but maintain consistency and keep the meetings focused on brainstorming and ideas related to careers and career goals.

If you are seeking to transition from one industry to another, be sure to include someone for your board from that industry who can offer you valuable insight, advice, and possible connections. If you are not transitioning careers, you will have a new network outside of your own circle of colleagues who will offer valuable perspectives which can help you become a better and more strategic leader and thinker in your own industry.


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