Create a Personal Board of Directors
We ran across a great article that included insight from our friend Carla Harris, who was the keynote speaker during the Executive Women’s Day event put on by the PGA as part of the FedEx St. Jude Classic Golf Tournament. The blog post was written by Emily Callahan, CMO, ALSAC / St. Jude children’s Research Hospital, who also participated in this event as a panelist. She writes, “Carla totally transformed my thinking on the specific roles of those people. She believes you should intentionally cultivate three types of people: the advisor, the mentor and the sponsor.”
It’s sort of like creating a personal Board of Directors.
Here is a brief description of each–as written by Emily–and be sure to click here to read her entire post.
Advisor: The advisor is the person you go to in order to ask the dumb question you think you should already know the answer to, but don’t. The one who can give you context in an organization and help you connect the dots. This is your buddy. The one who will shoot you straight and not judge or use your dumb question against you. I have been blessed to have one of these folks at every job, including one who has just come back to work with me after serving as my first boss! Get one of these. Better yet, BE this person for someone else as well.
Mentor: The mentor is one you tell the good, the bad and the ugly to. Your hopes and dreams. The next job you want and helps you get there. Carla teaches that it should be someone who knows YOU and who has context for your situation. It doesn’t have to be someone in your organization, but someone who does understand the business you are in. I am beyond blessed to serve in this role for a number of people, and am always honored when someone asks me to mentor them. True mentoring is a highly personal engagement and it’s not lost on me that people are trusting me with their hopes, goals, dreams, warts and bright spots. If you are lucky enough to find a great mentor, treasure this person. Personally, I recommend you also live your life so that someone seeks you out to serve in this role. You’ll get far more than you give.
Sponsor: The sponsor role was my biggest “aha.” Carla reminded us that much of our career or place in an organization, for those who do not work in a corporation, is decided when we are not in the room. The next promotion, the salary we receive, the committee we sit on…are all typically decided when we are not present. So the sponsor is the person you tell the good to. Just the good. They are your advocate. They sing your praises. They have a seat at the table and they spend their own personal capital on recommending you.
Thank you, Emily, for capturing with wisdom of Carla!