Think back to your early days in a big new role. How did you feel? What were you thinking as you wandered the halls, trying to find the bathroom?

One of the most precious commodities for any of us – especially when we’re starting up in a new leadership role – is perspective. It’s easy to feel totally lost and to get isolated. That’s why some astute leaders set up a simple group of advisors to act as a sounding board.

Imagine you’re in the middle of a challenging political scenario in your new role. You don’t have years of history in the organization to depend on. You may not have cultivated trusted internal sponsors yet. But you still have to decide how to play the situation. Do you make that high-risk move? Do you play it safe for a while?

It’s right then that you might wish you had a small group of trusted outsiders available to you to test ideas and push your gut feelings. Here’s the good news – you can have one, a Personal Board of Directors.

If you’re like most executives, you’ll immediately begin to think about who would be on your board. But stop. First ask yourself, What do I want this group to do for me? What skills and backgrounds do I really need on my board? Take out a piece of paper and write those things down. You’re going to have to articulate the purpose and skills required anyway when you invite people onto the board. You may as well get them clear beforehand.

I’m curious – what purpose would you want to accomplish with your own board? And what qualities, skills, and background would matter to you?