Who is on your personal board of advisors?

Companies have advisory boards for guidance and accountability who is on your personal board of advisors for growth and development?

11Personal Board of Advisors

Do you have a core group of people that you go to for advice or guidance? Have you ever heard of a personal board of advisors? Let’s talk about the 8 pieces of your personal board of advisors. What they are and who they look like!


We have all heard about the importance of having a mentor at work and you have likely benefited from one or more mentors throughout your professional journey. Have you thought about adding a second mentor to the mix or maybe even a handful of advisors


There is a need for this and you can learn more about tips for building your board and ongoing best practices that Pete Schramm speaks about. He has delivered a TEDx talk, delivered multiple keynotes for Fortune 500 companies, and his first book will have a full chapter about this concept. 

Don’t just take our word for it…

Building a personal board of advisors has been discussed in multiple books, high-profile articles, and a few podcasts. Do you recognize some of these?


  1. Napoleon Hill: Think and Grow Rich – talks about the ~9 invisible counselors that he “confided” in when making decisions. Of course, we want to engage with living people, ideally, in our workplace – this concept of multiple reference points is nearly 100 years old!  
  2. Reid Hoffman (LinkedIn founder): Blitzscaling: The Lightning-Fast Path to Building Massively Valuable Companies – walks us through the critical growth phases of company growth from the family stage to the tribe, village, city, and nation stages.  Surrounding yourself with great people is paramount and he references a group of advisors in chapter 8. 
  3. In 2015, MIT Sloan Management Review talked about the benefits of a personal board of advisors, how to identify potential board members, and what to do when gaps arise. We will dive deeper below! 
  4.  A few years later in 2021, Fortune outlined some more details around the “how” part of building your personal board of advisors. Note there was still not a single map or worksheet to follow or a defined tech tool:) 


I bet you are getting excited to learn more – let’s start building your personal board of advisors! 

11Personal Board of Advisors

The First Board Seats to Fill

  • 11
    Functional MentorIn function with 5-10 more years of experience
  • 11
    Cross-Functional MentorOut of function, 5-10 years ahead
  • 11
    Buddy/PeerSimilar careers with ~3 years of your experience
  • 11
    Supervisor/ManagerSigns timecard and conducts your performance reviews

Filling Out Your Board

  • 11
    Champion2+ levels above, ideally inside your organization "split-level"
  • 11
    Sponsor (Advocate)"Super connector" that advocates for you outside of your 1:1s
  • 11
    AllySomebody different that is willing to take action and support (gender, race, age, religion, culture, +)
  • 11
    Accountability PartnerThere for you as a human, mental health (not just work stuff)
11Ted x DAU - #PeopleDoMatter

Not One Size Fits All

(other seats)
  • Mentee (pay it forward)
  • HR Business Partner
  • Processional/Life Coach
  • Therapist
  • Fitness Coach/Trainer
  • Successor (offboarding)

We have only scratched the surface

More on each board seat to help you build your personal board of advisors. 


The first seats to fill

  1. A functional mentor that is in your field and has been in similar roles, pick somebody that you aspire to be like (personally, professionally, spiritually). They were probably in your shoes 5-10 years ago – this was my Brian D for Pete #FindYourBrian
  2. Another (cross-functional) mentor in a different function that has had different life experiences, approximately 5-10 years ahead of you, probably from another team.
  3. Your Supervisor/Manager– at the end of the day, they are the ones that will be “signing your timecard” and doing your reviews – it’s essential to keep in touch with them consistently and grow together (know what is expected of you at work).
  4. A peer (or buddy) at your organization with ~3 years of experience that can act as an accountability partner. Somebody that you go to for more informal advice/guidance – helping you grow tactically as an individual (we recommend you introduce this board seat early on in the onboarding process)

The next seats to fill

  1. A champion that is 2+ levels above you in your organization. They will help you better understand how you fit into the larger picture and can help strategically plan out the next few steps of your career this is your industry expert.
  2. A sponsor that is a super-connector and can help bring you into other conversations. The sponsor’s role is to help build you up and advocate for you outside of your 1:1 interactions.
  3. Somebody different than you (gender, age, race, culture, background, experience), sometimes referred to as an ally – helps you see things in a different light and they take action and support you.
  4. I wish that I filled this board seat sooner, they take care of you as an individual. Somebody that ensures you are building in balance and taking care of things OUTSIDE of work. A personal accountability partner. They help proactively reduce burnout and mental health concerns! 


Maybe this is a lot to process. 

Remember it’s not one size fits all, these roles will change over time and some of the names may go on and off of your board – that is ok! Remember what Bruce Lee said, “Absorb what is useful Discard what is not Add what is uniquely your own.”


How much time could you have saved if you had your board, mentor, sponsor, or champion sooner in your career? How can we be ready for tough times if we do not prepare?

You see the need – now it’s time to take action

Ready to take the next step towards empowering your people to build their personal board of advisors to ramp up meaningful engagement? It is time to retain talent and knowledge to your company! 


  1. who is right for your board
  2. how to set goals (what) and expectations (how & when) with each board member
  3. what to discuss with each board member (and how it changes over time)
  4. how and when to hire, fire, and retire board members
  5. what to do when I am at the top of the food chain and cannot find a champion or mentor internally
  6. how to integrate your career map to conversations 
  7. the ROI of increased, intentional engagement and how to track over time


Lattitude has teamed up with Lifeforce Wellness to offer a pilot program (programming + tech) to help organizations take the next step to investing in your people. Our customers typically come to us after they conducted an employee engagement survey and are asking the “what’s next” question (Gallup agrees). We got you covered!

Pathfinders (the book) Has Launched!

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