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Notes from the Field

A Practical Guide to Advisory Boards

Sitting in the corner office is a tough job, and sometimes very lonely.

This paper explores how leaders can use Advisory Boards to

improve strategic planning accountability, and leadership effectiveness.

While working with private companies (of all sizes) it has become clear that many don’t have proper governance/support structures for their CEOs. Growing an organization profitably is a challenge at the best of times. For private companies, setting up an Advisory Board both formalizes the planning process and provides the benefits of review and accountability.In this white paper, we give context and practical advice to the entrepreneurial executive on Advisory Boards: what they are, how to set one up, and how they operate.


Every business is unique, but consider the following scenarios:

  • Sales have gone through the roof, but your business is straining under the load.​
  • You are constantly in need of financing.​
  • You’ve jumped into a new business area, and you’re not sure whether you are fully exploiting the opportunity.​
  • You’re being bullied by one of your customers, competitors, or suppliers.​
  • You’re considering either acquiring another company, or selling yours.

Consider: every leader has his or her strengths. Some are more sales-oriented, others are financial gurus, while others may bring technology skills to the table. But most managers also work best (and feel most comfortable) in organizations of a particular size. A manager who is best at startups rarely would choose to work in a very large organization, and vice-versa. From the perspective of the business, the skills required to set up a business from scratch, are different than the skills used in managing a 20-person organization. And these skills are different than for a company of 100 or 1000.

So while different sized organizations need managers with different skills, they also need business processes, organizational structures and systems appropriate for their scale. And with growth, comes more complex relationships with customers, suppliers, and sources of financing.

The smartest managers are constantly learning, and constantly “re-inventing” themselves. When faced with one of these scenarios, a smart manager is equipped to make a decision, and then run with it.

Download this white paper on two lines:​​​​​​

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