How to build high performing advisory boards

Thought Leadership Articles

Published 06 June 2023


In this webinar, we are joined by Advisory Board Centre’s CEO and Founder, Louise Broekman, and Certified Chair and Fellow, Jan Easton, who discuss the evolving governance ecosystems of organisations and how a high performing advisory board finds it place within this developing environment. With advisory boards being termed ‘The hot new governance trend’, Louise and Jan explore the actual function of an advisory board, and how it differs from a traditional governance board.

Advisory boards have achieved an equal level of formalisation as governance boards; however, both serve different functions and hold capabilities that serve the governance ecosystem in different ways. The key difference being that advisory boards are guided by professionals that don’t have a financial stake in the performance of the organisation, with a high performing one allowing for discussion and critical exploration that is informed by objective and decentralised opinions.

This discussion and exploration are guided by a set of principles that are defined within the context of the business environment, just one part of the process involved in building a high performing board. While governance boards also navigate contextual business challenges, their level of governance limits them to doing so from a holistic level. Jan argues that because of this limitation, governance boards are increasingly relying upon the critical thinking that is afforded by advisory boards, to inform their own decision and policy making.

Both Jan and Louise have monitored the evolution of advisory boards, from their once informal scale of implementation to their now corporate level of formalisation that we see today. For Jan, her first experience within an advisory role 25 years ago allowed her to glean the value of their flexibility, compared to the constraints imposed by governance boards. For Louise, it was her own use of an advisory board for her previous business, that allowed her to realise the value they can provide.

I knew that I wanted to help other business like my own, I had an advisory board for my previous business, and it was life changing for me. To then be able to support other people in doing that became my primary goal, because I think if it can do that for me, what can it do for other people?


Where I can add the most value and contribute in a positive way that gives me a lot of satisfaction, but also gives a lot of momentum to the organisations I work with, is in that advisory board




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