What should you expect from your advisors? How do they help you take your business and life to the next level? What experience do they need to ensure your businesses success?
I was given an opportunity to spend time last week with an organization’s executive team and several people on their technology advisory board. I had not worked with any of these leaders in the past, so I was excited to see how other advisors work with their clients.
I can’t go into many details about what we talked about, that’s confidential.
What I will share is how these great advisors added significant value in a very short time with their clients. I personally believe that having a great advisory board is critical to your organization’s future growth and success. I will share several ideas on how to get the best results out of your advisory board meetings. If you apply these ideas to your meeting you may soon uncover if you have great advisors.
Great advisors can only be great if they have the right information and context. All of the people in the meeting were prepared by receiving an agenda for the day’s meeting in advance. They had all reviewed it and were ready to jump right in as the meeting got started. I find many of my larger clients go into these meetings without a detailed agenda and struggle to get through everything that needs to be covered in the allotted time.
Great advisors are able to provide a quick snapshot of their background so that everyone knows what experience they bring to the table. It is also critical to have your leadership team introduce themselves so everyone has a good idea of who they are talking with. In my case, I had reviewed all team members on LinkedIn. Many of my smaller clients don’t have complete bios on either their website or LinkedIn so I try to get a packet of information out to people before they come to the meeting.
Great advisors keep the mood light even when the discussions are serious. This group of people had worked on several major projects and their camaraderie made it easy to ask and answer questions. The group facilitator did a great job keeping the meeting moving forward. He knew what had to be covered and structured the discussions around many of the key issues so they were handled early. When one of the executives had to leave the meeting early, the facilitator had the material he needed to prepare for their decision.
Great advisors provide context and specific examples of when they dealt with similar challenges in the past. They are also able to share a wider variety of experiences than might be found on the leadership team. Their examples provide context for others on the team. Great advisors help the teams connect the dots.
Great advisors interact well with the different stakeholders in the meeting. They are very good at understanding the different agendas that are in play. Each member of the leadership team has different concerns and to get buy-in, the advisor must be able to work at the level of the stakeholders’ understanding and concerns. These advisors were very good at seeing the many different stakeholders’ positions and then help address and clarify their concerns quickly.
Great advisors are very good at moving the discussion to the right people in the room. They are good at bringing out the expertise of their client’s leaders. In many cases, the leaders have the right ideas but may require help in prioritizing what they need to do. A good advisor helps prioritize their list; a great advisor makes sure the client continues to set and own the implementation schedule.
Finally, great advisors are willing to challenge and clarify their clients changing wants and needs during their meetings. Great advisors are very good at providing structure to a client’s ongoing discussions. Great advisors should be able to keep the big picture in focus while working through the details of the meeting.
So now you have a good idea of what you should expect from your advisors. How do your advisors measure up? Are they good or are they great? Great advisors on your advisory board can help take your business to the next level faster and easier than you might expect. If you’re looking for help on this please feel free to call me at 440-293-8811.
On Friday we talk about the changing role of social media for midmarket leaders and entrepreneurs today. We will also be sharing a great video to help you start the conversation in your own organization. See you then.