It is 80 degrees, hot, and sticky – and that’s inside my home. My AC unit has gone out at the beginning of the Georgia summer. Ugh. The recommended solution is costly, not fast, and confusing. Fortunately, I have sorted out the details, and the situation is on track to resolution. Looking back, I learned lessons that have broader applications.
Over a decade ago, I took a class on Decision Science in business school. There was probability, heuristics, and empirical case studies – much of which I have forgotten. One lesson has stuck with me, though. I remember the professor discussing what to do when confronted with an unfamiliar situation that requires a decision. He had recommended tapping into a network of experts – people that have seen the problem before and can provide perspective on how they approached a solution. Using this approach, you can accumulate information, educate yourself, and ask clarifying questions to make a higher-quality decision. An important activity then becomes building this network of experts you can tap into (and serve) when needed.
Said another way, this network of experts is your personal Board of Advisors. Your board can have experts of many types: friends, colleagues, professionals, books, and the internet. More abstractly, your board can also contain people you admire (but don’t know) and fictional characters. Maybe you admire President Abraham Lincoln. How would he counsel? When faced with a problem, you tap into your board of advisors.
For my AC dilemma, I called my board, literally. My neighbor is a professional electrician and is handy around the home. I have a friend that co-owns a Commercial HVAC business. With both, I discussed the situation and the AC technician’s assessment. Both had experienced similar problems (many times) and provided invaluable advice. Thus armed, I confidently settled on a course of action and will soon return to the cool.
I have a Board of Advisors for my running too. I am far from a professional athlete, but running is important to me, and I run enough to encounter obstacles: injuries, plateaus, worn-out gear, and sadness. My board contains my running coach, physical therapist, collection of books on running, local running store, and friends. It also includes the customers of Peregrune, many of whom have shared their advice and experiences that have benefited me. I tap into my board frequently and give back to the community as much as possible.
Who’s on your Board of Advisors? Email me if you need a place to start, and I’m happy to share what I know: email@example.com.