Managing your advisory board: How to fire an adviser

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Since you've read about what a powerful tool an advisory board can be for a mom, you know how important it is to have one for yourself. You know who your advisers are and you rely on them for love, support, and great advice. Life is good. Until its not.
The unthinkable happens. Someone violates your trust and breaks the rules of the advisory board. It sucks, mama.
It happened to me once, too. It took me a little while to process what happened and decide what to do. I never had to fire an adviser before and didn't really know I could. The good news is that because I've had to do it, I know how to help you if you ever find yourself in my unfortunate situation.

Do you really need to fire them?

Sometimes its hard to be certain if a firing is warranted. Let me help you. I've got my serious face on so listen up!
If someone has
  • lied to you
  • shared personal information without permission
  • omitted pertinent and relevant information with the intent to deceive you
  • shamed you
  • verbally or emotionally abused you
  • violated a professional contract
  • broken the law
  • no respect for your boundaries,
they no longer have the qualifications of a board adviser. It is in your best interest to fire them for your well-being.

Make your decision

If anyone on your board fits the above description, it is time for them to go. It seems like common sense, right? Unfortunately, when you are the one being lied to or manipulated, its not always easy to see whats going on.  A few things that can help you determine if you need to fire an adviser are:
  1. A safe space. This means that you distance yourself temporarily from the situation and person to work out your feelings and take an objective outlook on whats happening.
  2. Time. There is no set amount of time it takes to decide. Sometimes you know almost immediately that an adviser needs to be fired, especially in cases of broken contracts or laws. When you've been manipulated or shamed, it can take a while to unravel your feelings and realize that you've been betrayed. Either way, firing an adviser is a big deal. Its okay to work your feelings through and not rush through or explain away.
  3. Your gut. Your intuition is your strongest indicator of things being amiss in an adviser relationship. The following are some good questions to reflect on:
    • Do I feel like I have the ability to make my own choices when talking with this person?
    • Do I have total confidence that this person is keeping our private conversations private?
    • Do I feel like a better, stronger mom with a clear direction after talking with them, or do I feel confused, disappointed, or controlled?
    • Do I feel like I can be myself when I am with them?
    • Do I feel embarrassed or scared to share my real thoughts and opinions for fear of their reaction?
Trust yourself and your feelings towards these questions. Your soul knows things that sometimes the mind can't explain. There have been times in my life where I instinctively knew I shouldn't trust someone, did anyway, and it came back to hurt me. Don't do that. Listen to your instincts!

Follow through

Ok, you've made the tough executive decision to let an adviser go. The hardest part of the process is over. The only thing left to do is implement.
The easiest and most effective way to eliminate someone from your advisory board is simple: stop consulting them.
Stop getting personal. Its okay to be friendly still, but stop sharing the details of your life with them. Personally, I think "Would I share this on Facebook?" and if the answer is no, I don't share it with them.
If they ask questions about your life that you'd rather not answer, have a polite pocket response ready to go. Something like "I've got it figured out, thanks!" or "It all worked out!" or whatever. I feel like those are polite ways of saying "butt out, its none-ya business" without having to be uncomfortably assertive. 'Cause sometimes its hard standing up to people. Maybe that's just me.
If a major offense has been committed and you feel ready to address it with them, I 100% encourage you to do that. Those conversations can be difficult to have but are incredibly healing and freeing.

What happens now?

The relationship can still remain - forgiveness can happen. Friends can still be friends, relatives can still be family. But an advisory board is a sacred thing, and a position on that board is a separate and higher calling. Once that position is lost its not something that is earned back quickly or easily, if at all.
Eventually you may fill the empty adviser seat. Maybe someone else on your board will absorb it. Maybe it will sit empty forever. However it happens, know that its okay and you'll make it through!

Tell me mamas, have you ever had to fire an adviser? How did it go? Do you have any tips to share?

You need a motherhood advisory board

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

When I was growing up, a wise relative explained the concept of having an advisory board for different aspects of my life. In the corporate world, an advisory board serves as a group of people who give non-binding strategic advice to decision makers. The beauty of having an advisory board is that no single person must be an expert on everything, but you benefit from a wealthy bank of knowledge to draw from. I think every mom could benefit from having an advisory board for herself and her children.

Why do you need an advisory board?

Lets pretend for a minute that you are CEO of your household. Wait - you totally are! Nice work, Boss Lady! Anyway, you are the CEO. You're busy. You've got kids to take care of, play
dates to get to, school drop-off, doctors appointments, church responsibilities. You have a life to live, and the wide expanse that motherhood needs to cover is more than you can do alone.

An advisory board consists of experts (with degrees or not) that help you fill in the gaps of things you may not be knowledgeable or talented in. Your child's pediatrician can definitively tell if your kid is sick. You've got a friend who is passionate about fashion and more than willing to help you with your outdated wardrobe. Your child's teacher can (hopefully) give great pointers about how to help your child at home. These people are experts in their field - they've done the research and gotten the education (when needed) - and are committed to helping you become an expert on yourself and/or your child.
You probably already have the bones of an advisory board right now! But as a purposeful mom, why don't we just go ahead and make a complete and official Board of Advisors right now?

How to organize a Board of Advisors

  1. Start by thinking about people in your life who make you feel good when you are around them. You respect their opinions and their advice seems to usually ring true to you. As a friend, you trust them, and may already have shared a few intimate or important conversations. As a professional, you may also entrust them with bigger life issues like health care, finances, and career decisions. You know they genuinely care about you and are invested in seeing you succeed. This person could be any of the following:
    • spouse
    • friend
    • close relative
    • co-worker
    • church leader
    • teacher
    • coach
    • counselor
    • doctor
  2. As you go through the list, determine if the person has the qualities of a good board adviser. A great candidate for your board would be:
    • Trustworthy. A board adviser needs to have proven themselves to be honest and have integrity. You know you can bring a sensitive issue to them and it won't be spread.
    • Knowledgeable. Board advisers have individual arenas of expertise. Health, child development, financial intuition, creativity, social finesse, and faith are all aspects of being that people can be experts in. Not all of these people need to have degrees in their field they are advising you in. They just need to be passionate, have good street smarts, and extensive knowledge on their assigned topics.
    • Personable. A board adviser is someone you feel you can have a candid conversation with. You feel they listen to you and take your concerns and questions seriously. They deliver their advice with tact and a smile.
    • Team Oriented. You have a solid working relationship with this person. You feel that given a problem, you could find a solution together.
    • Objective. A good board adviser is able to give advice with no strings attached. That means that if you decide to not take their advice, they will not hold it against you. Your relationship does not hinge on whether or not you always listen to them.
  3. Once you have decided who belongs on your advisory board and why, make it official. It can be done pretty casually, if needed. You just simply make a mental note that that person is now an official board adviser. Or, if you want to get a little more fancy, you can write them down.

Note: You don't really need to tell your board members they've been hired. You can if you want to (I've never tried) but just remember - your board members serve you. I like the freedom to hire and fire at will. Speaking about firing, we should probably talk about...

What a board advisor is not

  1. The boss. YOU are the mom! YOU are the boss! An adviser's purpose is to help you make better decisions for yourself and/or your child. They are there to consult you. They don't get to make the decisions for you. Feels good to be CEO, doesn't it?!
  2.  Permanent. If someone on your advisory board
    • shames you
    • degrades you
    • talks down to you
    • does not have your best interest at heart
    • uses fear tactics to manipulate you, or
    • loses your trust,
you have the the right and responsibility to fire them. You are giving them your time, energy, trust, and sometimes money. If you feel they are not effectively advising you, give them the pink slip.* That being said, advisers are not always "nice". By nice, I mean that they don't always tell you what you want to hear, and may sometimes offer constructive criticism.  When your adviser offers insight or suggestions that anger, frustrate, or make you uncomfortable, really examine your feelings. Be honest with yourself - are they right? Is there room for improvement? Could trying things another way work? Consider what they say. You hired them, after all. Board advisers hold weight.
*Sometimes you will have people in life that you can't fire but don't meet board member qualifications, like health specialists and teachers. They don't necessarily need to be added to your advisory board; however, the information they provide can be helpful.

Are you ready to create your advisory board?

Having an advisory board empowers you as a mother. It helps you be informed and well-rounded. Your board helps you progress and supports you to success. When you've got a whole group of people giving you the best they've got and cheering you on to success, its almost impossible to not feel competent and confident.
You've got this, mama! Now get to work and hire some people, Boss Lady!
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