Matthew Horton, Co-Founder and Managing Director - foundU
foundU is an all-in-one HR platform providing solutions from recruitment to payroll. Matthew appointed an advisory board to provide a sounding board for his leadership team.
I set up foundU just over three years ago with Michael Ott and Tyson Armitage, two young blokes with a massive amount of drive and passion.
What became evident very quickly was, being the old man of the team, I was seen as the font of all knowledge and that didn’t sit well with me. We all have opinions but quite often they are wrong and I needed someone to challenge my decision making.
Having worked with governance boards in the past I knew the benefit of other counsel testing your ideas and challenging your assumptions. I also knew that governance boards don’t work for start-ups. They are too structured and far too focused on their own fiduciary obligations.
My advisory board has provided incredible value to the business. They have forced us to become more structured in our thinking, challenged our decisions and provided some much needed advice in the tech space which is the backbone of our business.
But it cuts both ways. We don’t give our board a free ride. We expect them to bring value to our business and provide us with solutions when we are in a bind.
Because of this it is important you are strategic in picking your chair and advisors. The biggest danger is picking someone because you get along with them or they think like you. Your chair needs to be strong, challenge your assumptions and keep the conversation on track.
We can have honest discussions about the business and we are free to accept or reject the advice of the board. The benefit is I get to hear a different opinion from people I respect. It’s a completely different relationship than what you get with consultants. You pay a consultant to do a job whereas the advisory board is there to help you do your job.
The other thing I like about the advisory board is it is a fluid arrangement. Currently I have a HR expert, a senior executive in labour hire and an IT guru. Next year I might need marketing or financing expertise.
One thing is for sure, I really don’t think we would be where we are if we hadn’t made the decision to engage an advisory board.”
Learn more about foundU at www.foundu.com.au .
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