In the land of “Ted Lasso,” the internet fell in love with the Diamond Dogs. The Diamond Dogs were a group of friends/colleagues that the brilliant writers of Ted Lasso created to become a support network for each other. They created a safe space where they could vent, get vulnerable, ask for advice, or just talk about something without having to resolve anything.

We (Marnie and Nick) embraced this idea of building a personal board of advisors (our own personal Diamond Dogs). So much so that we decided to have a little competition to build our own – from Ted Lasso characters. Nick is a huge fan of the NFL Draft (as a Jets fan it is when he feels the most hope 😉 ). So in our recent podcast episode of Lens of Leadership, we celebrate the NFL draft. And we draft our own Diamond Dogs/Personal Board of Advisors. We compete against AI in the form of ChatGPT and select from the pool of Ted Lasso characters.

Creating a personal board of advisors felt like a similar process to the NFL draft. Just as NFL teams strategically select players to fill specific roles and enhance their overall performance, crafting your own board involves identifying individuals who can support personal and professional growth. Both require careful consideration of potential contributions, team dynamics, and long-term goals, aiming to assemble a winning combination that propels you toward success.

Consider Ted’s Diamond Dogs – each member brought something unique to the group – from Higgins sage life advice to Nate’s cartography skills to Beard’s well-read insights.

In this blog, we will discuss the importance of having a personal board of advisors, and walk you through the process of determining what that should look like. (Wouldn’t it be amazing if we really could draft some Ted Lasso characters?! Who would be your first pick?)

Why You Need a Personal Board of Advisors

As Jim Rohn famously said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” This highlights the impact that your closest associates can have on your behavior, attitudes, and success. A personal board of advisors (your very own Diamond Dogs) can offer diverse perspectives, hold you accountable, provide mentorship, and help navigate struggles.

Creating a personal board of advisors is a strategic approach to having a team of mentors guiding you through challenges, helping accelerate your growth and achievement of goals. This board becomes a cornerstone for making informed decisions, navigating career or life transitions, and enhancing personal skills.

Ted knew that he needed to surround himself with others not just for support but to encourage him, question him and push him on his path to the best version of himself. (Who didn’t cheer when Roy Kent finally succumbed to being a Diamond Dog?)

Here are a few key reasons to build your own Personal Board of Advisors:

  1. Diverse Expertise: Having advisors with different backgrounds and areas of expertise ensures you get well-rounded advice and insights.
  2. Accountability: Your board can hold you accountable for your goals, helping you stay on track and motivated.
  3. Mentorship and Guidance: Advisors can provide mentorship, helping you navigate complex personal and professional challenges.
  4. Networking Opportunities: Connectors within your board can open doors to new opportunities and networks.
  5. Emotional Support: Trusted confidants on your board offer emotional support, helping you maintain mental and emotional well-being.

Building Your Diamond Dogs: Tips and Tricks

As we mentioned, in our podcast, we drafted Ted Lasso characters. But before we did that, we spent time determining the types of people, skills, and traits that we would need for support. (Another popular term for a personal board of advisors that we like is a Challenge Network.)

Thinking of your group of advisors as a Challenge Network forces you to consider your own strengths, weaknesses, and long-term goals. Then you can think about the type of expertise that will help you stretch and hold you accountable.

To draft our board, we looked at five roles we wanted to fill:

  • Mentor: Someone with experience – they have been there, done that
  • Connector: Someone who excels at networking and can introduce you to new opportunities. (Maybe an influencer – you know 😉 someone for being famous for almost being famous – in our endless effort to go viral on social media)
  • Peer: A colleague who understands your challenges and can offer mutual support.
  • Wellness Coach: An advisor focused on your physical and mental well-being.
  • Confidant: A trusted friend who you can share anything with. Also a great listener (and questioner)

Depending on where you are on your journey, you might need advisors that help you at home and/or at work. Take a few minutes to consider what that might look like for you.

Reflection Questions for Building Your Personal Board of Advisors

To help you think deeply about building your Diamond Dogs, consider these reflection questions:

  1. What are my current personal and professional goals?
  • How can advisors help me achieve these goals?
  1. What skills or knowledge do I lack that my advisors could provide?
  • Are there specific areas where I need the most guidance or expertise?
  1. Who in my network has consistently provided valuable advice and support?
  • Could these individuals play a formal role on my advisory board?
  1. How much time can I realistically commit to maintaining these relationships?
  • What are my expectations for the time commitment from my advisors?
  1. What are the core values that I want my advisors to share?
  • How important is it that they align with my personal and professional values?
  1. How will I measure the success and effectiveness of my advisory board?
  • What metrics or feedback loops will I use to evaluate their impact?
  1. Am I prepared to receive and act on constructive criticism from my advisors?
  • How will I ensure that I remain open and responsive to their advice?

Aligning Advisors to Ted Lasso Characters

As we mentioned, we were aiming to “draft” a mentor, connector, peer, wellness expert and confidant. We felt that these would help support us both personally and professionally.

Once we had come up with this list, we considered each of the characters from Ted Lasso. We rated each on their strengths and weaknesses. We had a white board and spreadsheet and everything. We looked at their personal operating systems (check out some of them here: https://leaditlikelasso.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/11/LILL_PersonalOperatingSystems.pdf

Here are a few of the characters we were considering drafting and what they could bring to our personal board of advisors:

  • Ted Lasso (Optimistic Leader): For someone who brings positivity and motivates you to be your best self.
  • Rebecca Welton (Strategic Thinker): Find a mentor who can provide strategic business insights and long-term planning advice.
  • Keely Jones (Connector and Influencer): Seek out a connector who excels at networking and can help you build your brand.
  • Coach Beard (Analytical Mind): Have an advisor who is detail-oriented and can provide deep, analytical insights.
  • Dr. Sharon Fieldstone (Wellness Expert): Include someone focused on mental health and emotional resilience.
  • Trent Crimm (Confidant): Find a confidant who listens without judgment and offers wise counsel.

Now, while we would all envy the board we managed to draft (you will have to check out the podcast to see who we got and who ChatGPT snatched from our wish list), the next step is to look around for folks that would fill these roles in real life (IRL).

  • To start:
  • List each role or area in which you need support.
    • Write down anyone you personally know who excels in that area.
    • List influencers, educators, leaders or others that you see out in the world that you feel reflect strengths that would make a good fit for your personal board of advisors. Make sure that you follow them on social media or wherever you can find their content. Even if they are not (yet) accessible for a conversation, you can still learn from them.
    • Prioritize and determine how you want to engage. Will you simply follow their content? Will you make an effort to ask them for advice when you know they will be helpful? Or will you ask them to mentor or advise you?
  • Now it is time to decide how formal you want to make your personal board of advisors.
  • Informal: you probably already have an informal group of people you trust to help you talk through daily concerns. If you have some folks on your list that you would like to know better, you can certainly start by connecting or working on building a stronger connection with them. Write down ways to enhance the relationships.
    • Formal: if you want a more formal relationship, then you will want to talk with each person. Some personal boards of advisors meet on a regular basis but others never meet (and sometimes don’t know each other). This is where you would just go to a specific advisor when their strengths support your needs.
  • Example: We have a former colleague whose strength is in finance and as we were looking to sell our company, we asked him if he would guide us along the way.
  • If you have decided on a more formal approach, here are a couple of steps you can take:

1.  Establish Clear Expectations: Communicate your expectations regarding time commitment, types of advice, and confidentiality. Ensure that both you and your advisors understand and agree to these terms.

2. Build Strong Relationships: Invest time in building and maintaining strong relationships with your advisors. Regular communication, mutual respect, and appreciation are key to long-lasting advisory relationships.

3.  Leverage Technology: Use tools like video conferencing, collaborative platforms, and scheduling apps to facilitate easy and consistent communication with your advisors, especially if they are geographically dispersed.

4. Evaluate and Adjust: Periodically assess the effectiveness of your board and make adjustments as necessary. As your goals and needs evolve, your board should evolve too.

In our book, Lead It Like Lasso, we have a Diamond Dogs activity that helps you walk through your current connections. If you want a quick start guide, check it out here: https://leaditlikelasso.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/11/LILL_DiamondDogsActivity.pdf

If you want to dive in deeper on the topic of building out your own personal board of advisors, here are some books you might want to check out:

  1. “Who’s Got Your Back: The Breakthrough Program to Build Deep, Trusting Relationships That Create Success–and Won’t Let You Fail” by Keith Ferrazzi
  • This book focuses on building a network of trusted advisors who can help you succeed both personally and professionally. Ferrazzi emphasizes the importance of deep, meaningful relationships.
  1. “The Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help” by Amanda Palmer
  • Palmer’s book is a compelling look at the power of asking for help and building a supportive community around you. It’s a great read for understanding the importance of vulnerability and trust in relationships.
  1. “Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us” by Seth Godin
  • Godin explores the concept of tribes and how leaders can build and lead a group of like-minded individuals. This book provides insights on how to create a supportive network that can help you achieve your personal and professional goals.

We hope this guide inspires you to create your own personal board of advisors. Share your experiences and let us know how your Diamond Dogs are helping you grow both personally and professionally! Marnie and Nick