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Use an advisory board, bring expertise
Are you surrounded by competence? Has everyone in your organization adopted the mission of your organization and personalized it? If you can answer “yes” to both  questions, you are in a rare position and nothing is going to hold you from success.

Building a true team is hard work in both athletics and organizations. It starts with recruiting the needed talent. Too often those skilled individuals never fully understand the mission of the organization, nor do they develop a passion for it. They are a long way from being team players. If any single employee ends up alienated from the organization, they can undermine the positive organizational experiences for everyone.

Over the many years of interaction with successful business and non-profit executives (and coaches), I have heard repeatedly that their successes are attributed to the very competent people surrounding them. These managers do many things to lead their employees so they work as a successful team. They listen, they faithfully engage both their employees and their customers and they find ways to step aside from time-to-time to think in critical ways about their needs and strategies.

Some entities are structured with Boards of Directors or Boards of Trustees that encompass people with expertise from many fields. Finding individuals who are available and willing to serve in such a capacity is no small challenge in today’s world. But there is another option for adding insight and assistance to small and growing businesses: the Advisory Board. Such a group (perhaps three to four people in number) has no legal standing and how they are compensated for their willingness to help can vary greatly. Asking them to meet as an Advisory Board two to four times a year is typically sufficient.

The Advisory Board members could be found at your golf club, church, service organization or a local school or college. They may even be former college friends. These individuals should have a track record of experience and success in their chosen endeavors. They are probably community-minded with business experience and are anxious to see you and your firm advance.

By having your key people interact with an Advisory Board, their thinking can be expanded. As they explain their plans and strategies for their areas of responsibility to these outside experts, it helps them clarify their priorities and how their role in the company’s future can best be played out.

An Advisory Board is like having a special consultant for you and your organization. Open up to them with the company’s history and current financials, and let them interact socially with your people. This is a valuable tool for success, and adds a team experience for your key employees.

About the Author

Roger Doerr
Professor Emeritus, Hastings College, Hastings, Neb.

Roger Doerr is a retired professor emeritus of business and economics at Hastings College where he taught for 44 years. 
He was two-time President of the Nebraska Economics and Business Association.

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