Structure and Discipline


Published 25 September 2020

The ABF101 Advisory Board Best Practice Framework™ has been carefully developed to respect and support the balance required between purpose, people and process to create a strong foundation to Advisor engagement.

The ABF101 Framework is based on five key principles –clarity of scope, independence and fit-for-purpose, measurement, structure and discipline.

Let’s explore the “Structure and Discipline” principle.

Advisory Board Best Practice Framework

Structure and Discipline

Every organisation will have their own approach to strategic management.  The ABF101 Framework is not about red tape, regulations and procedures. It is about flexibility, enablement and harnessing the powerhouse of expertise to make things happen. Inherently it is purposeful, flexible and agile.

Within the ABF101 Framework, Structure and Discipline and Measurement principles underpin the Advisory Board’s PROCESS section. Within this, the Structure and Discipline principle states “The Advisory Board structure is clearly outlined with protocols to establish, manage and review effectiveness.”

By taking the time to clearly define the Advisory Board structure it allows for elevated advisory conversations. Meetings are not dominated by process discussions. This allows for efficient operations of the Advisory Board including internal management, preparation from the organisation and the advisory members, and high quality, future-focussed discussions aligned to the organisation’s priorities.

A disciplined approach supports the transition from informal mentoring and coaching to a formalised Advisory Board. This is an important step for emerging organisations to support growth and scale ambitions. The Advisory Board State of the Market Report identified that while emerging business had a high level of ambition to implement an Advisory Board, over 50% of these engagements were postponed due to the firm’s lack of planning, resources, and clarity of expectations.

It is estimated that 6% of businesses in the OECD ($1.5m to $100m in revenue turnover) show high potential to engage an Advisory Board, and the number of Advisory Boards established to support them is set to grow. In 2018, 92% of advisor appointments were for new Advisory Boards, and 8% were for existing Advisory Boards.

With many organisations looking to establish their Advisory Board for the first time, both the organisation and the Advisory Board members will benefit from structure and discipline.

The ABF101 Framework provides a balanced approach to Advisory Board establishment and facilitation. It recognises the balance necessary for defining a purpose that is unique to the organisation and applying good governance of people and processes.

Importance of Structure and Discipline for Organisations

  • The Advisory Board aligns to the broader governance and management frameworks
  • Disciplines and protocols enable the organisation to follow through and be focused on outcomes
  • Information and reporting processes are simple, clear and enacted
  • Evaluation of outcomes and effectiveness enables the Advisory Board to evolve with the organisational needs
  • For the process to work effectively, executives within the organisation need to be committed to the process
  • Provides a process to manage ethical boundaries when seeking advice

Importance of Structure and Discipline for Advisors

  • Roles are clearly defined enabling members to be effective in their roles
  • Members have a common understanding of expectations and protocols, including do’s and don’ts
  • Provides clarity and commitment for member terms of engagement


  • An Advisory Board establishment process is completed by an Independent Chair with the organisation
  • Advisory Board member orientation
  • Communication protocols
  • Meeting agenda, reports and minute management
  • Ethics Statement and code of conduct included in the Advisory Board Charter
  • Scheduled reviews of key performance indicators, member evaluations and performance outcomes
  • Preparation and timeliness
  • Annual reviews

What’s the next step?

A well-crafted, comprehensive Advisory Board Charter can outline the structure and discipline elements that are tailored to the Advisory Board scope and organisational needs.

Advisory Board Certified Chairs have undertaken specialised development to assist organisations to evaluate their options and develop Advisory Board protocols, including a Charter, that outlines the Advisory Board structure and process elements.

If you are a business and would like to tap into this and learn more about how Advisor Engagement could benefit your business, email: [email protected]

Interested in learning more around best practice for Advisory Boards and professional Advisors? Download your complimentary copy of the ABF101 Advisory Board Best Practice Framework™. In addition, you can gain a Micro-Credential in the Advisory Board Technical Foundations Program, which is a fully supported online program that is self-paced and can be done at any time to understand how Advisory Boards technically work, elevating your skills and lifting you in your role as an Advisor.