• Emily @HRwired

How to Build Your Personal Board of Directors: A Step-by-Step Guide

Updated: Jan 5



Building your own Board of Directors will radically change your life. Imagine having a dedicated group of people who are committed to your success – and what that could do to inspire your life's aspirations. It could be the between what got you here and where you're going next.


“If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” African Proverb

A personal board of directors is a group of people who have committed to your success. Imagine how much further you can go with a group of people on your side, every step of the way.


As outlined below, this framework will help you get started. You can design your Board of Directors however you wish and with your Board's support.


  • Advice and expertise that you seek that you don't yet have mastery;

  • New and alternative perspectives to situations you're crave a fresh outlook;

  • Role play to help you learn better ways of managing difficult situations;

  • Introduce you to new people who can offer advice and experience;

  • Hold you accountable to yourself and your objectives (which you will share); or

  • Connect you to opportunities that support your learning and growth.


Design Your Future in Ten Steps


[1] Get Clear on "Your Why"

This is the most important part of the whole exercise. "Where are you going next?" is not the question to ask right now. The question is: "Why do I want to go there?" Once you're clear on "the why," it will help you set intentions to aspire to how you're going to build your life/career roadmap. Be inspired!


💡Hire a Coach. A valuable investment to yourself is to hire a coach. A coach is someone you hire to hold you accountable to yourself – they are someone who is going to push and pull you – fiercely committed to helping you. It's not therapy; and a person who is giving advice or therapy isn't a coach. A coach is asking open-ended questions that are so thought provoking that you pause. You may not have the answer in the moment. If you're not sure how to hire a coach, read How to Hire a Coach. Don't have the money to hire a coach? Ask your employer. Many companies offer cash allowances as part of your professional development.


[2] Identify Your Values

Think of a peak experience in your life over the course of two minutes. Then, get your phone and record yourself telling that story with every detail, every emotion, every voice inflection, and how it happened. Listen to your story and write down key words or themes that stick out. Develop a list of 5-10 words that represent what is important to you about that story. (Repeat this exercise with another story until you're happy with the results.) These words will serve as your values. Values are your guiding lights that you can't be without and they need to show up in every aspect of your life.


[3] Identify Your Objective(s) for this Project

Another, effective tool is to define your objectives. This are the guiding statements that no matter what, it's your north star to guide you to the next level. Change doesn't happen over days or weeks, it can take months and years. Be patient with yourself as you're rebuilding your new normal. Trust the process even when you don't see change.


[4] Identify a Tool for Your Vision Board

If you're a digital workspace person, checkout Notion, Quip or Trello. If you're a post-it person, find a place in your home to start creating – a wall, behind a door, or a bulletin board would work. We like the kanban board because it visually easy to make sense of the information as you're adding and changing things around. Alternatively, the river of life method could work, too.


Identify 5-8 values. Then, build each value out.


  • Characteristics: Additional words that you might use to describe this value.

  • People: Individuals in your life or in the world who represent this value well.

  • Obstacles: What's getting in your way or could get in your way?

  • Action: What does this value look like "in action"?

  • Companies: Which companies honor this value?

  • Accountability: How will you know you're honoring this value?Add your own.

Example of a vision board on the Quip platform



[5] Define Desired Key Results for Each Value


They must be achievable yet difficult for you to do alone. Remember the purpose of this exercise is to help you build your own personal board of directors. It is helpful to think of at least three key results per value so that you can have different areas you can tap.


Value: Leadership Playing it safe: I want to be a Director within the next three years. Taking Action: Hold a directorship in one of my preferred companies by EOY 2021.


Value: Entrepreneurship Playing it safe: Raise funding so that I can grow my start-up by 15% revenue. Taking Action: Assess operational and product-market-fit inefficiencies by EOY. Prioritize understanding the sales cycle by Q1. Seek investor feedback by Q2.


[6] Set the Objective of Your Personal Board of Directors.


Now that you have clarity on your desired objectives and key results for yourself, you are well positioned to set the objective of your board. As you look at your vision board, you might notice areas of interest, patterns, or growth. Consider:


  • Advice and expertise that you seek that you don't yet have mastery;

  • New and alternative perspectives to situations you're crave a fresh outlook;

  • Role play to help you learn better ways of managing difficult situations;

  • Introduce you to new people who can offer advice and experience;

  • Hold you accountable to yourself and your objectives (which you will share); or

  • Connect you to opportunities that support your learning and growth.Add your own.


[7] Contact Prospective Board of Director Candidates.

Reach out to individuals based on specific key results you seek. If you're not sure where to start, consider tapping into networks or communities that you trust.

Then, write a thoughtful email to introduce the objective of reaching out. 💡Use this template for inspiration.


[8] Interview Candidates.

Interview prospects just as you'd interview a candidate for a job. If you've never interviewed someone before, use our template to help you get started. 💡Use this template for inspiration.


[9] Logistics

Your board of directors doesn't necessarily need to meet at a group or with you on a regular basis. It's up to you on how to best set-up.


  • Suggest monthly meetings for one hour for six months. Meetings should be held at a consistent time and day of the month and not rescheduled. You should put the meetings on the calendar.

  • Take notes or ask a third person to take notes for you. (Maybe it makes sense to have a secretary position – and you return the favor for that person if they go through a similar exercise.)

  • Schedule a follow-up one year after your last BOD meeting to share outcomes, learnings, and what's next.


[10] Last but Not Forgotten: Have Fun!

It's easy to take ourselves too seriously during an exercise like this but remember that you should enjoy the journey as much as the destination. There are unexpected insights in these experiences – and if you let yourself "just be" you'll find those opportunities.

We enjoy reading stories from the community about individual personal development journey. Send us a note!



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