Is One on One Mentoring Obsolete? Enter the PBOD…

Kris Dunn Generations, Kris Dunn, Retention, Succession Planning

Have you ever noticed how much HR people talk about taking a seat at "the table"?  I know we have a lot of non-HR folks who read FOT, so hit me in the comments and tell me how sick you are of hearing that phrase.  A little sick?  Or "I just drank that garbage bag full of green Kool-Aid with a fifth of Everclear in it" kind of sick?

HR pros are classically under-networked as a general rule.  That point became apparent to me based onSocial_networks2 the response to a new column I did over at Workforce about what an HR pro’s personal board of directors (PBOD for short) wants from HR.   The biggest trend in the responses to me?  That HR pros don’t talk shop with the marketing and finance folks.


The concept of a personal board of directors is something a lot of us have developed over time in our careers (note – I first saw the term in Fast Company a few years back).  It underscores the fact that if we are strong professionals, we’re going to grow a network of folks that we can learn from, and that same group can provide feedback to you to make you a stronger professional, regardless of what business you are in.

It also underscores the fact that one-on-one mentoring may be dead.  It takes a freaking village these days to give you what you need.  Kathy Kram echos these thoughts over at the Wall Street Journal:

"Consider this: How can one teacher know enough to help you keep up with rapidly changing technology, as well as navigate the challenges of globalization, a multicultural work force and team-based decision making? Even people who have served as mentors often need help staying abreast of all these changes.

A better approach is to create and cultivate a developmental network — a small group of people to whom you can turn for regular mentoring support and who have a genuine interest in your learning and development. Think of it as your personal board of directors.

The composition of the group depends on where you are in your career and what you’re looking for. If you’re just getting started, you could certainly turn to your boss or assigned mentor for help. But you should also look further, seeking out peers to get feedback on areas where you need to improve, such as public speaking or working in teams."

Who’s on your personal board of directors?  I’m making my list now and have identified holes in my lineup in the following areas – emerging technology, use of video and pilates stretching/flexibility.

Fill out your lineup card today and establish your PBOD…