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Build Your Own Board of Experts

The most successful entrepreneurs rely on their advisory boards
to help spot new opportunities and potential pitfalls.

Now you can have your own advisory board: a shadow board of

A shadow board of directors is a low-tech technique for
accessing the expertise of others and increasing your confidence
and options. A shadow board can help you get a variety of
perspectives and access to information just like a regular
board. Shadow boards of directors can push you out of your rut
and help you find alternative solutions and expert advice. The
only difference between a regular board and a shadow board is
that shadow boards exist only in your own imagination. Because
your shadow board is portable, light and easy to carry, it's
always available. It will challenge you to sharpen your thinking
skills and expand your perspective. Your shadow board of
directors teaches you to consider the views of others whether
you agree with them or not. It also makes available experts who
are living or dead, known to you or strangers; talent you could
never buy.

To build your shadow board of directors, choose a variety of
people for their strengths and skills. Choose them for their
specific skills and talents, knowledge and gifts, no matter what
their limitations might be. You'll be tapping their strengths,
not their limitations.

Make sure you have the people you need or could profit from, no
matter how outrageous anyone else might find them.

Use your shadow board of directors to help you think through
and make tough decisions. You'll use them for input and
advice.Some of the members will change depending on the topics
or the questions, others will be your old standbys.

My standard members include Einstein, just because he was so
smart. I can only hope to emulate his thinking process. Liz
Taylor is on my list because she is gorgeous no matter what her
size, very loyal to her friends, not afraid to speak out on
difficult or unpopular issues, and is one classy lady. I just
wish I had her violet eyes.

Marti Burns is a composite character, a combination of two
cognitive therapists: David Burns, who wrote Feeling Good: The
New Mood Therapy, the best book on combating depression I have
read and recommended, and Martin Seligman, a psychologist whose
pioneering work includes Learned Optimism and What You Can
Change... and What You Can't. Together these two men, in my
embodiment of Marti Burns, help me deal with my bouts of feeling
bad and help me confront myself when I get into irrational
thinking. I also check in with them when I'm faced with clients
who present difficult interpersonal issues.

Jane Johnson is another composite member, taken from two
friends and colleagues who are the best technical manager and
human resources manager I've been privileged to work with. Their
high ethical and moral stance, willingness to do the hard work,
and clarity in thought and action challenge me to meet their
level of expertise. I ask them how they would handle the hard
situations I face in corporate consulting challenges. Then I

For family issues, I look to Fitzhugh Gottman, another
composite character. He is a combination of Fitzhugh Dodson, my
favorite child rearing expert and John Gottman, known for his
solid, experience based work with couples and relationships. No
sound bites or stereotypes for these two. They know what works
for kids and couples.

The list could go on, but you get the picture. These are people
I have known personally, or through their work, or in my image
of them. I match their expertise to the challenges I face.

If my question involves critical thinking and creativity,
Einstein is always the chairman of the board. But I don't even
think to include him for grooming or social questions. Liz gets
the honors here. A quick conversation in my head with her, and I
know how to solve the problem with dispatch, class, and grace. I
wouldn't use her as my marriage consultant, though. Wedding
consultant, yes; marriage consultant, never.

A shadow board of directors complements the real experts you
know and rely on. They can get you started with your own
research, in your local library, browsing bookstores, and
searching the Internet. By going step by step, asking good
questions, and thinking through the answers, you'll get closer
to the information you need to help you face your challenges.

Start building your own Shadow Board today.

(c) 2004, Pat Wiklund. All rights in all media reserved. This
article may be reprinted so long as it is kept intact with the
copyright and by-line.

Business coach Pat Wiklund works with entrepreneurs who want to
make and keep more money from their businesses. Assess your one-
person business with her free business tune up ecourse: pat3- Contact Pat at

This article was submitted by - Pat Wiklund Please Rate/Review this Article - Recommend it to friends

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