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Advisory Boards: Just Another Form of Tough Love

bank meeting 123rf 9821832_sI had a call yesterday from a client who was getting ready for his second advisory board meeting.  He wanted to talk to me because he know I had been on several clients’ advisory boards in the past and had even had one for my own company for several years.

His concern was that his last board meeting didn’t go very well.  He laid out his dreams and ambitions to the board and they shot him down.  He wanted to know how he could better prepare for the next meeting.  It reminded me of a similar meeting I had with my board that didn’t go as I planned either.  I had my own dreams and ambitions and my board didn’t like them either.

Why Form An Advisory Board

So why do it?  Why put your hopes and dreams out there only to get beat up, criticized and questioned?

You don’t do it for love.  If you want to be loved, buy a dog.  Don’t form an advisory board.

Advisory Boards: Just Another Form of Tough Love

Most entrepreneurs are surrounded by friends and staff and people that don’t have all the facts but are encouraging nonetheless.  You surround yourself with people that give you positive reinforcement.  Your employees are always agreeable (they have a vested interest, after all).

But what you really need to succeed is some honest criticism.  It’s not your successes that kill you, but your mistakes.

The purpose of advisory boards is to give you that honest feedback.  They should question your actions and help you make better decisions.  Their role is to be skeptical of what you present to them.  You want them to find the flaws in your logic.  No one else will do it.

Working with an advisory board can be a very humbling experience.  You basically show them everything – your financials, your dreams and your shortcomings.  If you want to make it a sales job then don’t do it.

The reason to form and advisory board s to be able to lay it all out there, make yourself vulnerable and to open yourself up to criticism before you take action.  Consequently, the actions you take will be more successful.

Don’t have an advisory board yet but interested in setting one up?  Check out our article Form an Advisory Board for details including a video on how to go about it.

To learn more financial leadership skills, download the free 7 Habits of Highly Effective CFOs.

Advisory Boards

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Advisory Board Best Practices

See Also:
How to Run an Effective Meeting
Future of the Accounting Workforce
How To Train People For Success
Advisory Board Agreement
How to Hire New Employees
How to form an Advisory Board

Advisory Board Best Practices

Best Practices of advisory board management include setting an agenda, communicating with members and soliciting recommendations. Once you set up your advisory board, all of these goals can be relatively easy to achieve.

Advisory Board Agenda

Meetings are typically a routine – a pre-planned event with an advisory board meeting agenda. They are usually a lunch meeting that lasts into the late afternoon or it can be an early dinner meeting that lasts into the early evening. You can hold these meetings in a private room at a restaurant or club. You want it to be somewhere that is quiet and where you and the advisory board members can have an uninterrupted conversation with food and drink provided.

Advisory board meetings typically last between three and four hours, depending on how full the agenda is for a meeting. It is a good idea to publish an advisory board meeting agenda in advance. If members are required to read or prepare anything, then they will have enough time to be ready for the meeting.

The expected outcome of the advisory board meeting is for you to get some recommendations, advice, and perspective. It is not necessarily to make decisions as in a traditional board meeting, with votes taken on motions and minutes of the meeting taken and published.

Advisory Board Communication

You can include advisory board members in the distribution of your monthly financial and operational reports for the company, in order to keep them up to speed on how the company is progressing. This can be beneficial if your advisory board meets on a quarterly basis. You can communicate via email. Furthermore, some advisory boards will have members who engage in discussion between meetings, via email or in person. In addition, advisory board members may meet individually with the company’s president or CEO in between advisory board meetings.

To learn more financial leadership skills, download the free 7 Habits of Highly Effective CFOs.

advisory board best practices

Strategic CFO Lab Member Extra

Access your Flash Report Execution Plan in SCFO Lab. The step-by-step plan to manage your company before your financial statements are prepared.

Click here to access your Execution Plan. Not a Lab Member?

Click here to learn more about SCFO Labs

advisory board best practices

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