There is a wide variety of topics an advisory board can drive value on. Building an exhaustive list would be close to impossible. However we believe there are key elements to consider when thinking about the content of your advisory board discussions:
1. Be clear on you business / organisation vision and mission.
It’s very important you’r advisors understand you’r business, it’s ecosystem and the direction it aims to take. Ensuring you are clear on your organisation vision, mission, positioning strategy but also your competitive landscape and client profile will help ensuring the advisory board work is consistent with your business goals.
“Culture eats strategy for breakfast” (Peter Drucker)
I would even argue that beyond your business plan ensuring your advisory board deeply understands your business / organisation culture is essential to make their recommendation actionable.
2. Preparation is Key
What ever the topics you aim to discuss with your board, the more information you give the board members ahead of the meeting the more you will get out of the meeting. Remember, most of your board members are not in your business day to day life, they need to be brought up to speed.
This especially important if your advisory board meetings are short or if you advisory board is large, as it will limit the intervention time of each advisor. The more prepared they are the stronger their interventions will be.
3. Lazer focused
The objective of an advisory board is not to be a non legally binding version of the board of directors. The goal is for the advisory board to be complementing or supporting the work done by the board of director by either focusing deeper on specific topics, bringing a specific expertise on a complex topic, or act as a sanity check for major business decisions.
4. Minding the knowledge gap
As you plan your advisory board, we recommend you identify the knowledge gap within your leadership team and current board of directors. It’s a great way to ensure you maximise the value produced by your advisory board.
For start-ups or smaller organisations accessing knowledge or hiring experienced senior leader can be difficult or out of budget. Your advisory board is a great way to compensate this gap at a considerably more affordable price.
5. Safe space
An advisory board is also a safe space for CEOs to assess different options before they are presented to the board of directors (that often asses the CEO performance and determines his compensation).
Having this zone in witch a CEO can be vulnerable is considered priceless by many leaders.
Examples of content discussed in Advisory boards:
Now there are many different types of advisory boards (we list some examples here). What can be expected from a pharmaceutical R&D advisory board, will be very different from Client advisory board in the advertising space.
However most advisory board serve one of the following purposes
- Offer valuable advices on Key Business initiatives. We listed the top business initiatives advisory boards support here
- Expand the company network
- Bring extensive knowledge on a very specific topic or region.
- Help raise funds