Is your Client Advisory Board in need of recruitment and refreshment of its membership? Do you have existing client Board members who aren’t meeting the bar of their peers? Here are some tips on how to recruit and refresh your Advisory Board for the future.
Assess Steps for Off-Boarding Clients
Analyze what isn’t working. Sometimes it is as simple as a peer mismatch. Someone who is too junior or senior for the rest of the group can create challenges. This can be as easy as moving them to another group where they will fit in. Other times, clients need coaching. People are not born to be on boards and often a simple discussion can recast their thinking about what is useful to the Board – constructive feedback versus constant chipping at the strategy, examples of how to improve, etc.
Use Your Advisory Board Charter
The reason we create charters for the Client Advisory Boards we run is they provide guidelines and alignment about expectations and requirements to participate. Setting clear expectations around meeting attendance, input calls and other aspects of the role can make a difficult conversation easier. Pointing to a charter and reminding them of their original agreement is often a quick fix.
Enlist a Partner to Help
In our work as facilitators for companies’ Client Advisory Boards, we often help to rotate members off of Boards. This allows our clients to maintain their relationship with the client and puts us in the role of Board manager. It helps our clients’ executive sponsors of the Board distance themselves from the confrontation, and can often help their client to walk away happy.
Even though it can take time, resources and some emotional energy, in the end it is the right thing to remove clients who don’t make good advisors. It may seem easier to indefinitely ignore the problem, but ultimately they will thank you – and so will the other members on the Board.