Do You Have a Personal Board of Advisors?
A Piece of Practical Career Advice
Leadership advice abounds. I’ve read most of it. There’s some smart content out there. But the one thing I haven’t seen people write about is this: you need four or five close professional friends on speed dial. It’s best if they work at other companies. Hopefully, they’re in a mix of industries so you get good perspective.
No amount of professional networking, supportive words from family, or sage advice from good friends can truly take the place of like-minded confidants who are in the same craft as you.
Notice that I said friends first. You need people you can trust. Also, you need to respect their professional experiences, choices, and judgment. For best results, have some advisors who think similar to you, and some who don’t. Also, you’ll want to find people who have the same level of professional interest in marketing and similar career aspirations.
Why? Because sooner or later you’ll need advice from someone who has walked a mile in your shoes. You’ll face one of these situations and want to talk it through with them:
- You created a go-to-market plan to pitch to senior leaders and need perspective on missing elements or new ideas.
- You’re going for a big pot of funding and want to discuss strategies for winning supporters.
- You’re working with the latest martech solution and need tips on deploying it successfully from someone who has done it already.
- Your boss just asked you for a big deliverable and you want advice on hitting the mark.
- You want a sounding board for a new product, the latest messaging, or a marketing target.
- You’re mapping your career plan and want perspective from those who know you well but don’t work at your company.
Your Board of Marketing Advisors
Think of this as your personal Board of Marketing Advisors. It’s different from having mentors at work or professional heavy hitters who you seek out for strategic advice. You should have those resources too. But don’t put too much freight on casual or occasional connections. Save that for true confidants—people you’re close with and who are marketing professionals.
You’ll want marketing friends who are willing to get into the nitty-gritty of a situation, understand it, and offer concrete ideas. When you do something hard and nail it, it’s fun to talk shop with peers who get the nature of your accomplishment. When you face challenging expectations or hurdles, who you gonna call? For me, it’s my board of advisors.
By the way, you’ll want to do the same for them. There’s nothing more rewarding than supporting a friend who needs grounding and perspective when they’re in the heat of a situation. So, don’t just spring this on unsuspecting former colleagues. Make sure these folks are game to do this and know it’s a two-way street.
I’ve done this and it’s the highlight of my day when I get to catch up on life and experiences with these amazing folks. I enjoy the friendships and supporting these great people by serving as a sounding board for their questions and ideas. In return, I’ve treasured their insights and support.
Give it a try. You’ll be glad you did.
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