The office of the CEO can be one of the loneliest places in the world. As Harry Truman said: “The buck stops here.” The CEO is ultimately responsible for everything that transpires within the business, whether success or failure. As the CEO or owner of a business, you often find yourself faced with questions, issues and situations that you never expected, that you cannot delegate and that demand a thoughtful response in short order. What if you had a resource that you could turn to for some level of guidance or insight when you need it, or even support, if necessary? One option you might consider is creating an advisory board. An advisory board is a small group of peers that comes together on a periodic basis to provide you with some feedback and perspective on the issues that management is facing. Even if your company does not have a formal board of directors, it can benefit from the involvement of an advisory board. What are the benefits of such a group?
They can provide objective opinions on critical decisions.
Often when we are in the trenches, we lose our objectivity around issues that are the focus of our attention. An advisory board can help keep management focused on the important issues at hand, without the distraction of being too close to the situation.
They can offer peer perspective on tough business challenges.
This group’s members will often have experienced many of the challenges that your company may be facing, and can offer the invaluable perspective of having previously been through similar situations.
An advisory board can give an arm’s-length assessment of the strategic issues and situations that you are facing.
Since an advisory board is not a board of directors, with no fiduciary obligations and no voting power, they will have a different, possibly more straightforward, agenda. While a board of directors is a valuable asset to any company, an advisory board can bring a different assessment of the company’s situation. In a certain sense, they have no ax to grind.
They can confront you with the truth.
It seems that the higher a position an executive occupies, the harder it is for them to be presented with an objective opinion. Sometimes, the most valuable thing an executive can hear is that some idea they are enamored of is not based on solid thinking, and to be confronted on that point. An advisory board, if properly assembled, will provide this key point of view – possibly the single greatest attribute of the advisory board.
Who are good candidates for an advisory board? They should be people that management has known for some time, well respected in the business community, with a high level of integrity and committed to the success of the company. They must bring true added value to the table, in terms of experience, skills, influence, profile and other attributes. By assembling such a group, a CEO can ensure that they have someone guarding their back and keeping them on track as they bring the company to the next level.
If you find this helpful, please share it with someone who you think would benefit. Thanks in advance. – Bruce, 954-356-0439
To view video, Why You Need An Advisory Board, click here:
This article originally appeared in the South Florida Business Journal on April 22, 2011.