Clarity & Advisory Boards

Thought Leadership Articles

Published 27 February 2023

Member Article


Clarity brings success by helping us to:

  • Make decisions with conviction,
  • Make intentional choices,
  • Navigate uncertainty, and;
  • Alleviate the stress of running a business.

Gaining clarity is a process, and as such, being able to shift our perspective is fundamental to attaining it. A heightened awareness of our core values, beliefs, and assumptions allows us to see new possibilities, which in turn allows us to become more intentional about our actions every day.

For an advisory board, clarity is essential for success – about the problem that is being tackled, what success looks like for the group, and having the right expertise in the advisors.

Gaining clarity is akin to peeling an onion. It is tempting to view clarity simplistically, for example, by defining accelerating revenue growth as an advisory board goal. However, understanding what has made accelerating revenue growth a challenge requires deepening the organisation’s understanding of the choices they are faced with. Each choice involves trade-offs. Does growth mean increasing market share, entering new markets, and pursuing innovation or all at the same time? It is easy to set ambitious numerical targets and then rally the troops behind the vision. But managements rarely talk explicitly about how much value they are willing to sacrifice in one of those objectives to achieve more value in another. A “want it all” goal may set misaligned objectives which makes execution a challenge and delivered outcomes different from strategic plans.

What might clarity look like? Let’s consider a business owner simultaneously pursuing a certain level of profitability and market share increases in new growth markets: are they willing to sacrifice a certain level of profits in the next few years to increase sales in a particular growth market? Or a specific willingness to give up short-term revenues during the transitionary period to become a producer of new innovative products? What are the trade-offs between a post-pandemic workforce and sales strategies? How big a hit is an organisation willing to take in terms of profits, stranded assets, and higher operational costs at any given point in a journey toward revenue acceleration?

These are not questions that can be answered simply, swiftly, or without proper support. An independent Certified Chair™ will help create the space for management teams to reflect on these trade-offs and create a charter for the advisory board with the desired “Clarity of Scope” as defined in the ABF101 Advisory Board Best Practice Framework™.

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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author/s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Advisory Board Centre, or any other author, agency, organisation, employer or company mentioned. The publication of this article is not an endorsement. We do not warrant, endorse, guarantee, or assume responsibility for the accuracy or reliability of any information offered by third-party websites linked to by way of feature in this article.

Ganesh Chidambaram

Executive Coach & Director, Baobab Executive Coaching | Certified Chair™

Ganesh supports leaders in striking a balance between short-term priorities and long-term impact. He is driven by adventure and curiosity, which has helped him work across the Consumer, Healthcare and Financial Services industries in India, Singapore, France, the United Kingdom and Hong Kong.

Ganesh’s vision is to create a more equal, equitable and inclusive world for his daughter to grow into. He aspires to do this in a small way by helping his clients gain clarity in their values and purpose, conviction in their decision making, and be effective ‘doers’.