August 11, 2016

Peer Advisors Inspire Leaders

Peer Advisors Inspire Leaders

I remember the day vividly. During a typical meeting with my mentor came the Best. Career Advice. Ever. Her solid wisdom and industry tips were hallmarks but this conversation was priceless. She explained details of two peer advisory boards she launched years ago. In these groups, peer advisors met formally to discuss opportunities, declare goals, and hold each other accountable. “WOW! I would jump at the chance to join that circle of leaders”, I said. To my surprise, she responded, “You should start a peer advisory board to hold you accountable and challenge your thinking. Who will you invite?” (I admit my first thought was “OMG”!)


Although I’d worked in learning and development for 20 years, the concept of facilitated meetings among peers to solve real challenges was… Different. Bold. Challenge accepted! As intimidating as it sounded, the decision ultimately pivoted my thinking about how leaders develop. Within a few months, colleagues and I formed our version of a Peer Advisory Board. We carved ground rules, our mission, and published meeting dates through eternity (literally)! The development I’ve experienced through collaboration with peer advisors has changed the trajectory of my business and catapulted my career satisfaction. We’ve never looked back!


Recently I was asked to launch a similar Peer Advisory Board for high-caliber, likeminded professionals and business owners. This platform is inspiring leaders and elevating success!


What is a Peer Advisory Board?

A group of successful peers who advise. The purpose is to help solve specific problems. Members meet monthly with other highly successful likeminded professionals. A trained facilitator guides board meetings to keep them focused. From dialoging specific business challenges, to offering feedback and best practices, peer boards tackle real issues happening now.


Peer Advisory Board Value

We learn faster and better from one another. Period. These boards bring out the group’s “genius”. Collaborative learning draws on insight and wisdom of each member, resulting in a mix of ideas that benefits everyone.


Accountability packs a trifecta advantage. First, there’s power in a public declaration of goals and having to report back! Secondly, no one wants to disappoint his or her peer advisors. Lastly, because confidentiality is paramount, peers commit to truly elevating one another. Members become trusted friends. They share challenges and celebrate successes together.


“Try never to be the smartest person in the room. And if you are, I suggest you invite smarter people…or find a different room.”  - Michael Dell


Vulnerability is Essential

Board effectiveness is dependent on member’s willingness to share. When members are open about failures, challenges, and other sensitive issues, the group ultimately benefits. “A-ha” learning experiences come when members have respect for each other, as well as the patience and understanding to really listen. Having fun together, sharing good laughs and stories are important!


Look Outside Your Industry  

Most leaders join professional organizations and attend conferences within their industries. Peer Advisory Boards offer contrast. They include professionals from noncompeting industries. Members often find there is no substitute for developing strong bonds with peer advisors outside their industry space.


Why Join a Peer Advisory Board?

Peer advisory boards give members advice, knowledge and support leaders often can’t get from their team or mentors. Unbiased advice is difficult to receive because, typically, anyone a leader talks with is connected to them somehow. The truth is no matter how successful you are, nothing can substitute for hanging out with peers who know from experience what you are faced with. Peer Advisory Boards offer wisdom and support!


“It’s lonely at the top.” You’ve heard the cliché; but as a leader, you’ve felt it.


Ready to Learn More?

Legacy Talent Development is launching a new local Peer Advisory Board. If you would like to be invited to attend as a guest, email us:


Seth Godin’s blog article offers a perfect summary, “Your peer group are people with similar dreams, goals and world views. They are people who will push you in exchange for being pushed, who will raise the bar and tell you the truth. They're not in your business but they are in your shoes. Finding a peer group and working with them, intentionally and on a regular schedule, might be the single biggest boost your career can experience"