I had one of those aha moments recently when I hosted an event titled "Stepping Up - How to Become a Head of Marketing", in which we invited a panel of five Heads of Marketing from some prestigious and iconic brands to be speakers, and to share their insights and stories into how they got to their positions. The audience was a room full of enthusiastic and eager marketers, all budding to make their own career journey to a Head of Marketing position at some stage in their career trajectory.
One of the questions I asked the panel was about having mentors and the importance it played on their careers. Every one of them said it was pivotal in their careers in one way or another, but one answer stood out above all - "Not just having a mentor, but a Board of Directors".
To me, this was revolutionary and a real eye opener. It's not just about having a mentor to guide you but about having a group of mentors you can utilise and draw upon for different things. The speaker in question even mentioned her mother in law was on her board! Other board members included senior professionals from within her industry and others were senior professionals and peers from outside her industry. The secret is having a good blend of people from different backgrounds and experience levels to give you a balanced and varied viewpoint, that will help aid choices and decisions you make both personally and professionally. It’s about giving you holistic advice and varying perspectives on problems and challenges you face day-to-day.
There are two important lessons to remember. One; it doesn't happen overnight, and two; it's not a one size fits all approach. Like anything, it's a test, a learning curve and of course it's ever evolving. Who you need today on your board may be different to who you need next year or in five years time. The objective is to have a board and if you don't have one now, start building and asking today. And it doesn't necessarily need to be a formal thing either, it can be informal and you may only need to pick the brains of your board a couple of times a year.
So what now? If you, like many others don't have a board set up, you need to create a list of influential people who you respect and who you can ultimately learn from. Reach out to them today and more often than not they will be complimented by the request and more than willing to help you.
If you would like advice on your career, looking to make the next step or are looking to hire for your team, get in touch with me today either on 02 8925 9208 or at firstname.lastname@example.org