I have a secret weapon for career success and I'm willing to let you in on it. It's the importance of having 'career influencers'. Being role models, mentors, sponsors, coaches.
- Larke Riemer, Head of Women’s Markets at Westpac
In other words, Larke has a career board of advisors. A select group of trusted people she can turn to when she needs guidance.
Despite the title of this post - we actually love mentors. A mentor is a wonderful sounding board. A great start. And a good mentoring relationship can be a game-changer. We just don’t think you should stop there.
So what are the benefits of a career board of advisors?
Firstly, you aren’t pinning all your hopes on one person, putting all your eggs in one basket or all your idioms in one sentence :)
With more than one trusted and wise person to consult for your different career questions, you are going to make better and more informed decisions.
Also, the more people who know where you want to be going in your career, the more voices you will have advocating for you.
And you never know what opportunities can come up.
Then how you go about building a personal board of advisors?
Unlike a business board these people don’t sit around around a mahogany table once a quarter and talk about you. In fact, your advisory board don’t need to know each other at all.
You also don’t need to formally ask them to join your board. The idea is to have a group of people who you can consult as and when when the need arises.
They could be…
- That level-headed girlfriend from uni who has a knack for managing awkward conversations
- The senior staff member that always has your back and puts your name forward for the good projects/roles/deals
- Your brilliant mentor from the program at work
- The successful uncle who took his business from zero to hero and who is always genuinely interested in your job
- That ex-colleague who always challenges your thinking if it gets small
Like all good advisory boards - diversity should be the order of the day. Different levels of experience and backgrounds will only add to the quality of advice you can access.
Also, make sure they are smarter than you! Putting together a board of your mates might be fun but it’s unlikely to help your career. Leave your mates in the pub and get your career advice from people who will challenge you.
So rather than relying on that one senior person, go ahead and build your board. A team of people in your corner that you can regularly consult about your career and big life decisions.
And start now. Because as you progress in your career and the stakes get higher, these “role models, mentors, sponsors, coaches” could make all the difference!