Opinion

Creating influence and impact with advisory boards

Advisory boards may be considered ‘trendy’ at the moment but for good reason.  A high performing advisory board can make a fundamental difference to an organisation trying to work with the NHS or life science partners.

Why do organisations want advisory boards? The right ad board can fast-track the maturity of organisations – board members bring with them years of experience and this insight and reflection supports better decisions and strategies. Ad boards open doors, giving organisations access to their wider network and an ad board demonstrates to the market that the organisation means business.

At a glance, it sounds like it should be easy to identify the right people and get them around a table and run an ad board, but it is definitely an art rather than a science.

ZPB has created, convened and run advisory boards for clients including for technology companies, pharma and life sciences as well as providers of services. We have a proven track record of running effective and successful boards and councils many of which have stood for several years.

We believe there are six key ‘must-dos’ to create and deliver a successful ad board:

1.  Clearly defined objectives, outputs and success measures for the ad board

2. The right engagement at the client – who from the client will join the board?

3. The right board members – they need to ‘fit’ the organisation, be appropriately senior and influential, passionate about the mission and keen to leverage their experience

4. Good and purposeful meetings – flawless organisation and processes

5. Ongoing engagement with board members to ensure they are plugged into the organisation’s goals and priorities and can support activity and relationship building

6. Regular reviews to make sure the board is on track and fit for purpose

The important point is that each of these critical areas of activity needs focus and ongoing attention. A good advisory board is, for want of a better descriptor, a living thing and the right support and attention will help it to flourish making sure that the organisation gets maximum value and impact from their investment.

So, all this theory is great but in practice what does it really look like? Read about our work with Push Doctor on their strategy and governance advisory board here.