5 years...what's next?

Thought Leadership Articles

Published 03 March 2022


This week the Advisory Board Centre turned five. Five is not a relatively big number in the business world – but when you put it alongside the leaps and bounds we have made in those short years (two under the shadow of a pandemic), it is hard not to be incredibly proud of the impact we have made to the advisory sector.

Seventeen years ago, I was in a difficult place with my business at the time, and I needed help. But not just from one person, I needed independent experts in different areas who could put rigour behind the conversation and not be afraid to face difficult situations – and give raw answers. I instilled an advisory board and it gave me the confidence and support that allowed me to achieve my business goals. This is where my understanding and passion for the advisory sector first began.

After ten years of research, testing and development, the Advisory Board Centre was established in 2017 as the professional body for the advisory board sector. Since then, the sector has developed and matured at lightning speed. There have been many key milestones that have been momentous for our business, and for the advisory sector at large. I wanted to address five pivotal moments for our company in steering the direction of the sector.

1. Best Practice & Ethics Advisory Board

It is imperative that the Advisory Board Centre maintains an unbiased validation approach to the study of the role of advisory boards and examines what works and what does not to determine opportunities and limitations. This ensures our community of advisory board practitioners remain up-to-date, current, and deeply engaged with what matters most – the future. Together with the formation of the Global Research Council, the appointment of the Best Practice & Ethics Advisory Board in 2019 was an important initiative to oversee the reputation and governance structures of the sector whilst maintaining our neutrality.

2. ABF101: Advisory Board Best Practice Framework™

The release of the ABF101 Best Practice Framework™ in 2020 created the foundation for “what good looks like”. Fast-forward two years and more than 5,000 people worldwide have downloaded our guide. The guidelines are constantly reviewed and updated, including the release of the BPG207 Good Governance of an Advisory Board in 2021 as part of our broader advocacy work to the insurance industry and health care sectors.

3. State of the Market Global Report

First released in 2019 and updated in 2021, the State of the Market reports have become a cornerstone to the landscape mapping of the advisory sector globally and what kind of impact it is making. Our latest research found that the sector has increased by 52% in just two years, which demonstrates the rising importance of independent thinking, both in business and corporatised environments worldwide. Growth remains the most common strategic priority for organisations seeking an advisory board, however, the methods for sustainable growth have changed.

4. Virtual Certified Chair™ Executive Program

The pandemic changed the way just about every business conducted its affairs – internal and external, and the Advisory Board Centre was no exception. Faced with the reality that due to restrictions our in-person events and programs had to be paused (and we had no idea for how long), we had no choice but to pivot and embrace ‘the Zoom life’. By reimagining our Chair delivery method, we were able to open our doors to the wider market and welcome advisory professionals from across the globe. This has been a game-changing move for our business, and later this year we will be jumping the hurdle of hemisphere time zones. Watch this space.

5. The Advisory Board Centre Community

Importantly, it is the smaller moments that are making the biggest impact. Every member of the Advisory Board Centre community is dedicated to best practice and passionate about maximising influence in every part of an advisory board journey. It is these moments, one advisory board at a time, that collectively make a difference and will be what cements the need for external expert advice as standard when it comes to business decisions. It’s incredibly exciting to think about where the advisory sector will be in another five years!

I thank, deeply, everyone who has contributed to the development of these foundations, they are the basis in place for our 100-year strategy and will be a legacy to those we serve.

The power of independent thought is second-to-none. By instilling trust in the unknown, which is a vulnerable experience, you can access the extraordinary capabilities of a first-class advisory board. Without that vulnerability, you cannot make real progress. And at the heart of it all? A care factor. With professionals who care about their contribution and making a difference, there’s not much you cannot do.

Celebrating our fifth birthday is a commemoration of the spirit of contribution to better, bolder decisions for the future. Let’s keep moving.