Have You Selected Your Personal Board of Directors?

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Ensuring Success for 2012

As we begin 2012 I find myself assisting clients in reviewing and renewing their business strategy and commitments to the long term plans and objectives that we have put in place through the years.  While this is a meaningful and necessary exercise in every business, many times I find leaders have failed to make a fundamental first step in insuring their success for the New Year.

See, the first step isn’t business planning.  The first step each of us needs to take whether we are business owners, executives of a firm, department managers, sales professionals, or serve in other capacities is to take a step back and see where we are on our “Wheel of Life.”

In my near 30 years of business experience working in Corporate America as well as owning my own businesses, I have found that it is the other areas of my life and that of my professionals’ lives that usually hinder our success at work.

The “wheel of life” is a simple tool for taking a snap shot of where you are and where you desire to be.  For me the wheel of life is depicted below.  As I think about these items, it is helpful to chart my current progress and where I desire to be by year end in the adjacent diagram.


When thinking about these areas of your life, have you identified your personal board of directors?  We have advisory boards to help ensure we are successful in our businesses, why aren’t we doing this in our personal lives?  Why do we think we can go it alone or neglect key areas of our life and still be successful in our careers?  We know that money problems at home, marriage problems, health issues and other items negatively impact our productivity and that of our colleagues at work.

So let me challenge you to have the following done by January 14.  Sit down and take inventory of where you are on your “wheel of life.”  If it is a little different than mine, fine, change the headings.  Then establish where you want to be by the end of 2012 in each area of your life; once this is done it’s time to pick your very own personal board of directors.

Just as in business, life requires a multiplicity of counselors if we truly want to be successful.  Sit down and list at least one and preferably two to three trustworthy and competent individuals in each area.  Who are you going to call to discuss family issues with, a pastor, a close friend?  If you sense your marriage is a little stale, who do you trust to advise you on how to bring the romance back to your relationship?  Who can you trust to provide advice on your finances?  Who do you call if there are problems with your home?  How about career or business advice?  Who are your mentors for personal and spiritual growth?  Who will encourage, advise and hold you accountable for staying in good health?  By having this group of individuals listed a lot of stress is already relieved as you have the first step of your action plan in place for 2012 when life happens.

Remember to be specific in stating where you want to end up on the year.  Goals must be S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely.) As an example, you might start this exercise by stating that you want to improve your relationship with your sibling(s); however, this is not a S.M.A.R.T. goal as it is too difficult to quantify.  Then ask yourself “What is preventing me from doing this today?” Rank the answers to the question and then ask yourself “What would an improved relationship with my sibling(s) look like?”  Now that you have clearly articulated what you want to achieve and what is standing in your way of success, ask yourself “What is the best way for me to overcome the obstacles listed and move forward?”  If you need to call on your personal board of advisors, do so.

Make sure you do this for each area of your “wheel of life.”  Break your actions down to weekly or monthly activities as appropriate.

As a facilitator and Chapter President for Truth@Work, I lead monthly Christian Business Leader Roundtables. One thing we constantly remind our men and women members of is that “it isn’t the weak that the lion seeks to attack – it is the isolated.  Make sure your not trying to run this race alone.  Identify your advisors for the marketplace and in life. Secure your personal board of directors today.

By: Terry L. Massey

Terry is a Partner and Co-founder of AmeriStride, a business growth, leadership development and management consulting firm. He assists business owners and executives in building organizations that learn, lead and last.  Please email Terry at terry.massey@AmeriStride.com.

Terry L. Massey