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Assembling A Wisdom Adviser Circle Can Ease Your Mind

by Richard Avdoian

Even well-established companies and business owners are exploring new resources and practices to endure these challenging times. Increasingly, business owners and CEOs are seeking business consultants, peer review boards and business coaches to shed new light on the challenges they face and to offer innovative, practical solutions to maintain strong, competitive and profitable companies.

Successful business owners are:
• Willing to take off the rose-colored glasses and really see the company as it actually is.
• Able to recognize their role or lack of it in the present condition of the company.
• Willing to recognize they don’t know everything; open to candid feedback; and willing to implement new ideas, even if uncomfortable.
• Committed to being accountable.
• Able to ask for what they need to take their company to the next level.

It is OK not to go it alone, particularly if you are a business owner.


Business owners and business professionals do not receive enough candid feedback to ensure their continued professional and personal growth. Either feedback doesn’t exist or others tell leaders what they want to hear instead of what they need to know. Seeking advice may seem to be a no-brainer, but surprisingly, business owners vary in their openness and willingness to ask for advice.

There are alternatives to this approach, such as joining a peer advisory board like Vistage or The Alternative Board. Advisory boards are typically composed of eight to12 business owners and professionals. They meet monthly for four to eight hours and are a proven, effective process that helps owners who want to move business to the next level of success. Advisory boards can save business owners years of hard work and financial hardship.

In addition to the formal franchised advisory or peer-to-peer boards, many business owners are choosing to form their own “wisdom adviser circles” composed of seasoned professionals from all facets of business (marketing, finance, technology, business owners, etc.) whom they personally know and respect.

Format and benefits of advisory boards and circles:

• In-person confidential meetings that are regularly scheduled, with supportive phone contact as needed.
•Practical business techniques from business experts who have walked in your shoes.
• Minimization of critical mistakes.
•Candid interactive discussion with experts and other business owners and professionals.
•Discovery of how to adapt to new responsibilities, reduce destructive behaviors, improve retention, enhance teamwork and support organizational changes.
• The ability to serve as a confidential sounding board and offer immediate advice related to important decisions.
• Access to the expertise and years of experience of the experts you selected.

Developing your wisdom adviser circle.

Be selective. Recruit individuals you can trust with detailed confidential company information, finances, etc. if you desire to truly benefit from their advice. First list your areas of vulnerability or lack of knowledge and identify experts in your area that can address these needed areas.

Have it in writing. Put the advisers’ position descriptions and limitations in writing. Make it clear that business decisions are ultimately yours and that the advisers are not liable for their advice.

Ask for extended commitment. Ask for a yearly commitment with the option to mutually agree to renew. Select and renew wisely. Adding new blood with new ideas and energy can be beneficial, while maintaining a core group is important for stability.

Show appreciation. Showing your appreciation can include a list of your advisers and their companies on your company website, stipends, small shares of equity, appreciation dinners or personally selected gifts.

Whether you decide to join a formal advisory board or form your own wisdom advisory circle, it will require you to admit what you don’t know, take off the rose-colored glasses, accept candid feedback and put in the time to take action; otherwise your board is a waste of both your and the advisers’ time.

Richard Avdoian is founder & CEO of Midwest Business Institute, Inc., a business consulting and training firm. For information about training and seminars, contact Richard at 618-972-8588 or Richard@RichardAvdoian.com.
Submitted 6 years 234 days ago
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