The convenience afforded by GPS navigation is incredible! Gone are the days of narrowly averting car accidents while trying to navigate via printed MapQuest directions. Interestingly, however, when I am planning a first-time trip, I still like to get an overview using Google Maps before I leave. Of course, I always use my GPS, but also prefer to have a good general idea of where I’m going.


I have a strong need for context in other areas too! In my world, context is what makes everything else make sense, so I want to contextualize the development of a ‘Personal Board of Directors’ for you.

As a quick review, we’ve already discussed what a ‘Personal Board of Directors’ is and why you need one, and where to begin. This post provides a brief overview of the three-step process of developing a ‘Personal Board of Directors.’ Each of the three steps mentioned below will be extrapolated in future posts, including real examples.

The three steps necessary to develop your own ‘Personal Board of Directors’ are as follows:

  1. Identify The first step involves formally identifying people you are interested in as potential personal board members. You accomplish this by cross-referencing your overarching ‘why’ with two additional criteria relating to each specific individual. Unsurprisingly, these are also ‘why’ questions: Why are you interested in him? And, why might he be interested in you? Once again, it’s appropriate to be as specific as possible as it will help you with the second step.
  2. Approach The second step involves development of a customizable standard approach. I prefer email because it allows me leeway to carefully craft my request, and provides the potential board member ample time to consider it (e.g., without the pressure of me being on the other end of the telephone line). Regardless of what method of approach you choose, there are several important considerations. First, the general tone should be polite and professional. Second, you should clearly state your reason (i.e., for wanting to talk), objective (i.e., what you hope to achieve), and request (i.e., for a meeting, phone conversation, etc…).
  3. Cultivate The third step, cultivating a relationship, starts with your initial meeting or conversation and involves ongoing investment. You must be prepared initially so that you don’t waste your potential board member’s time. Then you must be intentional about following up. Cultivation is YOUR responsibility. Do it well and over time you’ll develop an asset – a group of people to whom you can turn for insight and advice. But recognize that nobody owes you anything. The time that your ‘Personal Board of Directors’ invests in you is a gift to you, and you should appreciate it as such.

Now that you know where we’re going, it’s time to elaborate on the intricacies involved in each of the three steps above and explore a few other very important considerations.

As this series continues, future posts will illustrate each concept with an example of my experience with a member of my own ‘Personal Board of Directors’ who I will refer to as Mark. Mark is currently Executive Director of global social services and economic development operations for one of the largest and most prominent churches in the world. Prior to assuming his current position, Mark was the 20-year President & CEO of a large trade association. Under Mark’s leadership, that organization doubled volume in less than eight years and enjoyed an increase in market value – a feat that no other commodity in history has accomplished. I will describe how I identified Mark (i.e., the ‘whys’), approached him (i.e., my email template and the first email I sent Mark), and have continued to cultivate our relationship (i.e., my follow up and subsequent developments). I sincerely hope these examples will be extremely helpful for you as you set about developing your own ‘Personal Board of Directors.’

Editor’s Note: This is the third post in a series dedicated to helping you learn to develop your own ‘Personal Board of Directors.’ If you found this post helpful, be sure not to miss the others – subscribe to this blog via the link in the upper right hand corner!

Leave a Comment: What are you most nervous about in beginning to develop a ‘Personal Board of Directors?’ Alternatively, what most excites you?

Share this!