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Advisory board toolkit

Support and guidance from an advisory board may accelerate growth, improve financial performance, manage risk or enhance operational performance.

By Institute of Directors
1 Jun 2016
read time
45 min to read
Business person standing on mezzanine floor

The toolkit covers the four phases of an advisory board’s life cycle:

  1. Consider

    An advisory board is a committee of people selected by a business (or a board in the case of larger companies) to provide defined advice and information in an informal and flexible manner. 

  2. Establish

    Structural similarities may exist between a board of directors and an advisory board. They should both have a chair to facilitate and lead, as well as procedures for the conduct of meetings.

  3. 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.

  4. Exit

    At some point in the life cycle of your advisory board you may encounter the need to exit from or alter the arrangements.

Further reading

Excerpt from The Four Pillars of Governance Best Practice on advisory boards (Institute of Directors, 2014) 

The role and value of an effective advisory board (Ivey Business Journal, 2003) 

Ten tips to creating an effective advisory board (Stengel, 2003) 

Don’t go it alone: Create an advisory board (Comaford, 2007) 

Creating an advisory board 

Case studies

The New York analyst, the farm station and the advisory board (National Business Review, September 2013) 

Representing NZ with chocolate (DominionPost 4 June, 2012).


Find out if an advisory board is right for you. 


The Institute of Directors acknowledges the following thought contributors in the development of this toolkit:

Tracy Brown – Tregaskis Brown, Peter Crow – Independent Director, Rod Drury – Xero, Estefania Gallinanes-Garcia –, Alan Hucks – Creative HQ, John Lumsden – Growlypaw Limited, Steve O’Connor – Creative HQ, Andre Post – Splice Group, Tom Reidy – Catalyst90, Aaron Rink – CF Reese Plumbing, Richard Westlake – Westlake Consulting.

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