Once you have a Customer Advisory Board recruited and your first few successful meetings are under your belt, things start to feel like they are running like a well-oiled machine. Don’t get too comfortable. It is exactly when things feel well-oiled that you must consider how to evolve and reinvent your Customer Advisory Board. Why? Because your company and your clients are not standing still and therefore neither should your Board.
Here are a few ways to think about Board reinvention:
Are you sure you have the best Board members who are pushing your leadership to consider and reconsider strategy? Do you have a member or two that will provoke discussion and ensure your leadership isn’t resting on their laurels?
Sometimes a Board mission has to shift. Perhaps your Board was focused on a specific area of your strategy and it has done its job in those areas; in other cases, your Board may identify new markets and new lines of business as net new areas for you to explore. The net new areas may serve as indications that you need to reconsider the Board’s mission and areas of focus.
Ask yourself. If you were to build the Customer Advisory Board today is this how you would do it? What would you change? Make the list, then make the list of why you shouldn’t make the changes today. Chances are there are some changes to make now.
Is your Customer Advisory Board still having impact? Sometimes Boards need to be retired and other approaches considered. Often, however, impact is limited because of the management system that surrounds the Board. Assess whether you have a management system in place to support the success of the Board and whether it is structured for sustainability.
Customer Advisory Boards, Strategy Boards and Partner Boards are powerful tools to use in your repertoire of executive engagement programs. And, like all strategies and programs it is important to assess whether your Board is delivering what you need and how to evolve it to ensure it does.