Someone once said, “A lot of people have gone further than they thought they could because someone else thought they could.”
I would like to think this person was talking about their business advisors. It is these people that serve as your support system when you are faced with client issues; bad dynamics between team members and when you are having the type of day when you wonder why you chose this career in the first place. To me, these people were crucial in a large firm where I was a small fish in a big pond. As a first-time entrepreneur, they are vital as you are in unchartered territory and guidance is a must-have.
This process of building your personal “Board of Directors” can easily be equated to the process of dating. Introducing a four part series where I apply dating rules to help you build your network of business advisors.
Dating World: The Blind Date
Workplace Equivalent: Formal Counseling/Mentoring Program in your Organization
Some large organizations have organized counselor/mentor programs where you receive an advisor upon entrance into an organization. I equate this to a blind date. Your friends (your company) believe that based on a common set of characteristics (gender/common interests/similar skillset) that this person is a good match for you.
As I am sure you can all profess, blind dates are not always successful and work-facilitated advisors do not always work either.
First step, be proactive and get some offline time (coffee/lunch) with your advisor to see if it’s a good fit. Ask yourself:
- Is there a connection there?
- Do you see yourself being able to be honest and completely open with this person?
On paper, this person may be smart and completely capable of giving you the guidance that you need. That said, for me it has always been about that personal connection. All business relationships are based on trust. If you don’t feel like you can trust this person, then you need to continue your search.
Like all first dates, you may not know if this is a fit on the first try. Give it some time and see if this is a relationship that can support you during your time at your organization.
If the blind date was a flop you would keep trying to put yourself out there, right? Maybe try online dating or go to community events and find like-minded people to connect with. The same thought process applies to the business world. Stay tuned for next week’s post where I look at ways to strategically network to build your entourage of business advisors.
Stacy Slawitsky turned to yoga and mindfulness as a means to relieve the stress of a demanding job at a Big 4 Accounting Firm. Her passion to share the benefits of these practices with others led her to start ZenConnect. She conducts corporate yoga, meditation classes and stress management workshops for employees throughout the Boston area.