Through The Keyhole #017: Advisory board – why every fast growing business should have one!

29 April 2016 | Paramjit Uppal | About a 3 minute read
Tags: advisory board, Through the Keyhole

Last week, we held our quarterly AND Digital Advisory Board and Management Team meeting. This was another fantastic and productive meeting, held over a day, covering a range of topics and involved a number of people across AND Digital. It was such a great day that it got me thinking why other small/mid-sized companies don’t have an Advisory Board; given they are similar to – and in some respects, better than – the boards of listed companies.Building a remarkable company can be exciting, energetic and unpredictable, but it also needs to have a stable and reassuring feel for its people and clients – one thing that the more established large companies do quite well.

As the CEO of any company, it can be lonely at the top. You may think you know what you’re doing and people around you will generally tell you’re doing a good job, but are you really applying the best thinking possible to the challenges that faces most fast growing companies? Are you really making the right calls on the big things? How are you building on the learning and experience of others?

These are the kinds of questions that led me to create an Advisory Board for AND Digital. I did something similar in previous ventures, and having seen the benefits there, I have put in what I call Advisory Board 2.0. The board comprises of 6 individuals from a wide range of backgrounds – Jonathan, a design guru; Laurence, a marketing expert; Nick, a leader in tech business; Mark, an innovator from Silicon Valley; Shirish and William, leaders from professional services.

The board provides three things for me:

Challenge – this keeps us sharp and focused. They are the ones asking the really difficult questions, drilling down on issues, calling it out how it is and giving us frank feedback, and making us really think! Having to explain something to a heavyweight group really does test you and keeps you at the top of your game! For example, really challenging us on our branding and market articulation

Perspective – the range of experience and opinions in the board means we can look at any opportunity and challenge a really wide range of angles. As they are not so much in the day-to-day operational matters of the business, they help us step back and take broader strategic perspective for key decisions. For example, helping us think through the reality of growing the public sector

Professionalism – as a fast growing business, it can be easy fall into the trap of doing things on the fly, particularly when you’re balancing so many things. Everyone needs some checks and balances, and some order to the business cycle and decision making process. A bit of formality such as the board quarterly meetings gives the business a rhythm and our people confidence. For example, driving rigour in our financial and management reporting

I established the advisory board from day of one of AND Digital, and I can truly say that the stellar growth we have achieved to date would not have been possible or as easy without them. So thank you William, Shirish, Mark, Nick, Laurence and Jonathan!

To read more about our individual Board Members, please click here.

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