Operate

Advisory board members must not be unwittingly exposed to liability as full directors. As the business owner, or business’s representative you must have absolute discretion to accept or disregard any recommendations made by your advisory board.

Key documentation

“There is a balance to be struck between strategic guidance and more tactical support. Pre-meeting materials can help set expectations in this regard. It also needs managing in meetings”

Tracy Brown, Tregaskis Brown

Advisory board members may need access to a range of company documents and records to operate effectively. Pre-meeting reading materials allow the members to reflect upon and order their thoughts and may include specific areas where you want input.

Information should be distributed at least a week before each meeting. Advisory board meetings are often more like workshops that involve collective problem solving and brainstorming.

Advisory boards may have a work plan to address how it will achieve its goals over a defined period. A work plan provides focus for the advisory board and helps minimise opportunities for receiving advice outside of the scope of the plan. The work plan should be reviewed on a regular basis to confirm its ongoing relevance.

Remember, the more formal you make your advisory board, the more likely it will be considered a formal board in the eyes of the law.


Review

Over time scope may change and different skill sets may be required on your advisory board. The agreement with advisory board members around expectations of individuals should be flexible enough to allow you to change direction yet be closely tied to the achievement of the agreed goals as key performance indicators expressed in engagement discussions.


“My main aim with board and advisory board meetings is to be forward looking. I passionately hate meetings that only review past financials and reflect on what happened, rather than actively working on the future. Of course past performance is important and we should take lessons from whatever has happened (good and bad), but monitoring and reviewing is meaningless unless you strategise adequately for the future.”
Andre Post, Splice Group