After my last post on “Skin in the Game” one of our fellow Heretics asked me to talk a bit about how you find awesome advisors.
Here’s what I learned over the years — both as someone seeking out advisors and being asked by founders to advise them.
First of all you should get super-clear about what you are looking for in your advisor(s). What are the skills you want to augment your current team with? What is the network you want to tap into? What kind of personal relationship do you want to have? What is the expected level of engagement on your end?
Once you have this (and I suggest to literally write it down), I start to make three lists of people who fit the criteria: People I know. People I have heard of. And people I don’t even know exist, but would be the ideal candidate.
Then I collate these lists into a short list of potential advisors — carefully thinking about each person on the list and how well s/he fits the criteria I listed out earlier.
Once all this is done the fun begins: Dating! I reach out to people, explain who I am, what we’re doing and why I think s/he would be an ideal candidate. I go to great lengths to explain why I came to this conclusion and make sure the person feels not only valued and seen but also understands “what’s in it for them”.
I also use my list and profile to activate my own network, asking them to make intros to people they believe are a good fit.
When you go through this process I am confident that you’ll find great advisors and mentors who will make a difference for your organization and you personally.
With all that being said: Why not start this weekend and build your advisor network?