Advisory Board and Strategic Thinking Circles
Botting Leadership takes great pride and in, and is passionate about, helping Organizations and their Leaders elevate their strategic thinking, foresight, and perspectives through two other key services:
Assistance with establishment of Strategic Advisory Boards; and
Participation of Organizational Leaders (Board Chairs and CEOs/Executive Directors) in added Strategic Thinking Circles.
Both of these added Strategic Advisory Services are summarized below:
Creating a Strategic Advisory Board
You don’t need to navigate unfamiliar waters alone. By putting together a good board of Strategic Advisers, you will create a powerful asset that can make a huge difference when you need to get objective advice, scout the marketplace, gauge future trends, seek new strategic positions, make new connections, or build repeat customers.
Strategic Advisory Boards or “Innovation Councils” are unlike legal Governance Structures and formal Corporate Boards. They have no fiduciary responsibility and their advice is non-binding. Some Strategic Advisory Groups are “hands-on” by meeting monthly, or even more frequently upon request to get involved in corporate planning and market research.
Most CEOs and Board Chairs that Botting Leadership works with only want to meet quarterly or semi-annually with their Strategic Advisory Boards. They want to regularly touch base and ensure they keep looking at “the bigger picture”. Many Strategic Advisory Boards or Innovation Councils consist solely of interested outsiders. But a good number include investors as well. What all such Strategic Advisory Boards share is that they:
play devil’s advocate.
10 Basics to a Strategic Advisory Board:
Here are 10 Basic Considerations that Botting Leadership follows when helping organizations – across all sectors, non-profit, institutional, and commercial alike – to build an effective and Strategic Advisory Board:
1. Determine the Objective of Your Advisory Board: Advisory boards can be general in scope or targeted to specific markets, industries, or issues such as adopting new technology or going global. They provide timely knowledge about trends and competitors, as well as identifying upcoming political, legislative, and regulatory developments. They can help you enter new businesses and look at your own operations with an open mind. Advisory Boards can also be made up of customers and prospects who provide insights into product development, marketing, or new innovations.
2. Choosing the Right People: When forming a Strategic Advisory Board, you need to understand its exact purpose and limitations. But you also need to know what specific skills to seek. In general, we will help you look for diverse skills, expertise, and experience. You will want members to be problem solvers and who are quick studies, have strong communication skills, insightful, and are very open-minded. Big names can be a bonus … but not always. Getting a heavyweight on your Innovation Council may give you credibility, but it’s also important to have participants who are going to spend the time to give you thoughtful advice or are willing to make strategic introductions.
3. Setting Expectations: When inviting a prospective member to join your Strategic Advisory Board, we will work together to lay down the ground rules about what is expected in terms of time, responsibilities, and term of office. We help you specify the areas in which you will be seeking help. If the Advisory Board is going to discuss issues that include private information, then all participants should be notified that they will be asked to sign a Confidentiality Agreement.
4. Compensating Your Advisory Board: Depending on whom you are asking and how involved you need them to be, compensation can vary from just providing food or a retreat to an interesting location, or to just cover basic travel expenses, to stock options, to cash payments, or to a combination of all the fore-mentioned. Keep in mind that your members will likely benefit themselves in a variety of ways. Being on your Strategic Advisory Board will expose them to ideas and perspectives they may have otherwise missed. It will also expand their own networks and provide them with a way of giving back.
5. Getting the Most Out of Strategic Advisory Board Meetings: We will help you properly prepare for meetings well in advance. This will also require choosing a site that is comfortable and free of distractions. Careful thought will also be given to developing the agenda and facilitating the meeting. As your Strategic Facilitator, we will seek advanced input for the agenda, and distribute important information ahead of time. We will run or co-chair the session as we would any professional meeting, and we will follow it up with an Action Plan. As an experienced Facilitator, we know which experts to draw out and how to stimulate a dialogue. We will always be looking for meetings that are results-oriented because ideas without action are not worth much. The minutes will be written up and circulated to top management. The notes will include recommendations on key issues.
6. Asking for Honesty: A Strategic Advisory Board must be open and frank, so don’t be offended if you hear things you don’t like. Your Board will also suggest ways of correcting the problems they identify. If appropriate and where possible, we will encourage members to tell you about their past mistakes – so you can avoid making the same ones. You can learn a lot by finding out what other people did wrong.
7. Alternative Methods for Gathering Feedback: Getting the entire Advisory Board or Innovation Council together on a regular basis may not always be possible. Alternatively, we will also facilitate conference calls or ZOOM meetings with specific members about topics relevant to their expertise, as needed. E-mail, Messenger, or use of other Drop Boxes and Shareware will be another great way to reach everyone and have them respond to you at their convenience.
8. Respecting All Contributions: A cardinal rule for establishing Strategic Advisory Boards is to never abuse or waste a Strategic Thinker’s time. Sometimes, a business executive is so close to an issue, they can’t “see the forest for the trees”. But please remember that this is NOT a corporate board, so you don’t have to do everything they suggest. We will work with you to help ask yourself, “Does this work for my organization? Am I comfortable with that?” Then we are available for follow up leadership coaching with you, so you can make your own final decision, on your own terms and conditions.
9. Keeping Your Strategic Advisory Board Members Informed: Once they’re on the Board, we can also work with your Executive Office or EA to keep members excited about your organization by giving them updates at times when you aren’t soliciting their advice. The fact that they’ve agreed to be on your Strategic Advisory Board or Innovation Council means that they care about your company, so keeping up to date will help them be of greater value to you. Together, we will work to make these people added evangelists for your organization or business.
10. “Firing” Bad Board Members: If together we realize we made a bad choice; it will be necessary to quickly get rid of him or her. The good news is that unlike a formal Board of Directors, your added Strategic Advisers can be replaced without a lot of legal headaches. The bad news happens when people are dismissed improperly, without careful respect and tactfulness. This is where Botting Leadership can also work with you to ensure “no bridges are ever burned”
Join a Strategic Thinking Circle
Similar to joining a Leadership Circle, Botting Leadership also creates “Strategic Thinking Circles” with an exclusive membership of only CEO’s and/or Board Chairs from very disparate organizations or companies, where together they meet regularly to discuss strategic trends and share insights. Only strategic thinkers need to apply to be able to join each of these inner Circles.
There are so many unprecedented events and existential changes happening all around us – from a post-COVID world, to climate change, to AI and advancing analytics, to aging demographics, global protectionism, rapid shifts in consumer behaviour, and radical shifts in our economy. All these issues will have profound impacts on any organization – both public or private.
If you would like to join a select group of thoughtful and strategic planners, please consider becoming an individual participant in one of our Strategic Thinking Circles, as an alternative way to also sustain your Strategic Thinking Capacity.
The same rules and processes as per Leadership Circles will also apply:
A select and exclusive meeting of Strategic Thinkers every month – for no more than 90 minutes – as a hand-picked assembly of Leaders in very different organizations, all joined together in a shared aim to understand trends and make things happen for their own strategic advantage, rather than stand by and watch things happen to them.
A discussion every month on key Global, National, and Local Trends and their profound implications to each organization.
Intimacy and fellowship with an elite group of Leaders and Thinkers who are truly able to look farther, think wider, and go deeper – with no more than 6 peers per group to facilitate optimum interaction.
Access to one additional Strategic Advisory Session per month with Dale Botting, between meetings, as your Strategic Mentor and Trusted Advisor.
Various take-away materials, checklists, other reading materials, and references on each monthly Strategic Topic.