In the real world, CEOs are typically supported by a staff of advisors, in contrast to the lone wolves portrayed in films who lead their organisations through challenging times. When put together thoughtfully, an advisory committee can provide anything from support to the leader in areas of weakness to a platform for testing out new strategies before they are rolled out across the board.
As most of us have gaps in our knowledge and skills, having a well-rounded team of advisers can help to fill these. They can not only provide missing pieces of the puzzle, but also help to interpret problems and offer new perspectives. It is important to actively search for both formal and informal contacts who can support you as your career advances. As you take on more responsibilities, you may need to reassess the composition of your advisory team.
As you put together your leadership advisory committee, keep in mind the following.
Put First Things First
Acknowledging and embracing the fact that most leaders benefit from support is a pivotal leadership capability. This may seem obvious, yet in certain circles or workplaces, requesting help when you are having difficulty can be perceived as a sign of frailty.
It is important to recognise the benefits of having experienced advisors to support your management decisions, in the same way that it is beneficial to find complementary and multi-disciplinary skills when undertaking tasks such as building a technical team or constructing a house.
It is essential to address any issues that may be preventing productivity or causing distress, and it may be necessary to seek external help in doing so. Taking care of oneself should be the top priority when struggling to keep up with the demands of personal or professional life.
Having an advisory team that includes objective outsiders, such as coaches and mental health and wellness professionals, can be an invaluable asset in helping you achieve your goals. Surprisingly, the majority of leaders make use of such aids to enhance their capabilities, in a way that is not seen as a sign of weakness, but rather as a way of improving their performance. As is the case with professional athletes, who often employ coaches to help them improve their game, the same should be true of high-performance leadership in the corporate world; however, unfortunately, the use of coaches, psychologists, or spiritual advisers is still not widely accepted.
You Shouldn’t be Shy About Seeking Outside Help
It may seem counterintuitive to suggest that those responsible for leading technology teams should also be providing technical advice. However, it is worth noting that technical advice encompasses more than just technology; it can extend to other areas where specialist expertise is required.
It is conceivable that one of your marketing team has expertise in consumer trends and may be able to provide guidance on how to modify your business model in light of the latest innovations. Additionally, you may be able to access a finance department member who can offer advice on how to acquire funding for your technological initiatives and produce compelling business plans.
It is unlikely that your organisation has all the technical capabilities it requires. The breadth of external technical expertise can be quite astounding. For example, the engineering teams at Works are highly experienced and can provide informal or formal guidance on your IT strategy, not just during implementation.
Outside experts possess a broad understanding of industry and technological advancements, as well as their potential applications. Companies are usually happy to share their expertise in this area, as it creates a beneficial environment for all involved. When done correctly, welcoming someone onto your advisory team can be the start of a mutually beneficial partnership.
The use of “Yes Men” should be avoided.
Building an advisory team comes with a few risks, such as the potential for an echo chamber of “yes men” who always agree with you and never offer a different perspective. However, setting up an advisory committee can be beneficial, as you can trial ideas and strategies in a controlled setting, thereby quickly identifying any issues or misunderstandings.
In order to be an effective leader, it is important to be able to take criticism constructively and use it to develop the original idea. If there is a lack of disagreement or constructive criticism from your advisory team, it may be worth considering how you are communicating with them. It is likely that you have created a team of people who simply agree with you due to a lack of trust or fear that criticism will be met with hostility or punishment.
It is advisable to present your advisory panel with the most challenging issues you are facing, particularly those that would gain the most from having a variety of views and experiences.
Put in Updates as Necessary
It is advisable to regularly update your advisory team in order to remain up-to-date with the latest technologies and software. As your leadership challenges may evolve, it may be necessary to adapt your team accordingly. For instance, if an organisation wishes to tackle supply chain issues, it may be beneficial to enlist the expertise of supply chain experts.
As a leader, it is important to periodically assess and update your team of advisors. If you have developed effective time management skills and feel ready to take on a leadership role on an international level, this transition may be challenging as it may involve relinquishing previously held beliefs or skills which were earned through hard work.
If you wish to expand your business, you should consider replacing some of your top advisors with those that have the necessary skillsets. Although it may not be an easy task, it is important to ensure that your advisory team does not become stagnant due to familiarity or personal ties.
Assembling an Advisory Committee can be a beneficial endeavour, both in the short and long-term. By incorporating a range of skills, experiences and perspectives, you can become a more resolute leader and enhance your capabilities. Investing the time and effort in forming a strong network of reliable advisers can be highly advantageous.