So, how did your board meeting go today? Not the one for the company you work for. Not the one for the non-profit you serve. How did the meeting go with your personal board of directors? Your B.o.D?

Everybody Needs Somebody, Sometime

You may have heard of the Board of Directors concept before but you haven’t given it much attention. Maybe you have even had one or more of the following thoughts:

  • How many do I need on my board?
  • Who should I ask to be on my board?
  • Should we meet regularly?
  • Should we meet as a group?
  • I don’t have the time for this. I don’t even know who I would ask.
  • Board of Directors sounds great for you but I can’t even figure out how to get a mentor. I’ll get back to you.

I mentioned in my last article that I would share some things I’ve learned over the past three years as an entrepreneur. This is one of them: We all need a personal BoD. Whether we are working for someone else or working for ourselves, this select group of people helps shepherd us to our own success.

Well, here’s what I’ve found out over the past three years: building a board of directors doesn’t have to be super formal. It doesn’t have to be hard. You don’t have to hire a search firm to find the right candidates. In fact, you probably know the right people right now.

You Already Know Your Board

Here are the five kinds of people I recommend my clients (and friends) include as members of their BoDs:

  • Experts

    They have been where you want to go. They are better than you at something you need to get better at doing. Experts can also be mentors and in most cases have been a mentor to you. Seek them out for subject matter expertise as opposed to generalized help. Chances are they are in high demand so come to your meetings prepared with topics and questions to make the best use of time.

  • Cheerleaders

    Thank goodness for these folks. Cheerleaders LOVE you! They are so excited about what you’re doing or the accomplishments you are achieving. You can pretty much do no wrong with your cheerleaders. We need them for unconditional love and encouragement. They know when we’re down and can share just the right word or memory or positive spirit we need to keep us motivated. With their enthusiastic support, we can keep moving the ball down the field even when it’s a muddy mess.

  • Pragmatists

    I love these tribe members. They are my people. They are watching out for you and can often make your blind spots more apparent. They will challenge you in frustrating but helpful ways. Be aware that you may feel a bit beat up after meeting with them but in a good way – like that early morning boot camp workout. You’re a little tired but you’re stronger for it.

  • Optimists

    Different than cheerleaders, these are the folks who see things for what they are. They tend to be a bit more objective than the cheerleaders but are a good compliment to your pragmatists. Where the pragmatists will pull back the curtain on what to watch out for, your optimist will help you create a vision of what’s possible. You need to keep that picture in the front of your mind to keep you motivated on the days when you feel you’ve lost your way. Reach out to your optimist to help you recapture what’s possible!

  • Truth-tellers

    These tribe-members will be the best ones to remind you of your true victories. They will also be the ones most likely to kick your patooty out of self-pity and back onto the field of play. A lot of times your truth-tellers will be good friends who know you well. They’re observant and they’re brave enough to be honest with you. If it hurts, these are the people who will hurt with you. But these are also the people who will rejoice with you because you did something really great.

So who’s on your board of directors? Who’s in your tribe? Is there another type of person you have found helpful?

Let me know in the comments.


Tara Lynn is a leadership development speaker, Fascinate Certified Advisor, coach, and writer. She brings polished, insightful ideas to companies and individuals, helping them clarify their unique value and rise to higher standards of success. The practical tips and tools she shares get her clients from point A to point C while solving for the mysterious point B. 

Hear Tara’s story and follow her at taralynnfoster.com, on linkedininstagram  or Facebook.