It’s lonely at the top, so the saying goes. Sounds like a cliché, but for the “top dogs” in a company tasked with leading their organization, they know the hard truth of the saying.
Decisions about the company’s direction, human resources challenges, operations, sales and marketing concerns-in one way or another all of these matters fall onto the shoulders of those at the top. Sure, there are department managers who will assume some of the decision-making burden, but there’s another saying that’s true for business leaders: the buck stops here.
Unlike most large publicly traded companies, small-to-mid-sized organizations usually do not have a Board of Advisors. The individual at the top makes most if not all of the big decisions and they must often do so on their own. The creation of an informal board of advisors, an “inner circle,” can add valuable insights and provide an outside perspective to the tough decision-making in the workplace.
Here are some of the most important things to consider when selecting individuals to be part of your inner circle:
THEY MUST BE HONEST WITH YOU WHEN “TOUGH LOVE” IS NEEDED.
An inner circle can provide you with a great opportunity to bounce around ideas, and it is important to know that you will get truthful opinions. You don’t want your inner circle to be filled with people that will “yes” you to death. It’s better to have your idea knocked down than to proceed with a concept that might cause damage.
THEY MUST BRING DIFFERENT VIEWPOINTS AND AN OUTSIDE PERSPECTIVE TO THE TABLE.
Not sure what your company looks like through an outsider’s lens? It is far more beneficial to bring to the inner circle individuals who can provide a viewpoint that distinguishes itself by being different from your company’s party line.
THEY MUST HOLD YOU ACCOUNTABLE.
As difficult as it can be to make tough decisions, it can be equally as difficult to take the actions necessary to turn the decision into a reality. Your inner circle must be able to motivate you, offer support, and ultimately hold you accountable for the decisions and goals that you establish.
Does this sound like it can work for you? Here’s how to get started:
1. Identify 4-6 individuals who you feel match the criteria outlined above. Don’t worry if you can’t come up with more than 2 or 3 people. It’s better to have the right people rather than selecting people simply to add “head count.” Remember that you can always select additional people later. It’s the right complement of people that’s most important.
2. Invite the people to the group. Let them know what level of commitment and participation you’re looking for, and give them as much information as possible so they know what they will be doing.
3. Establish a schedule for how frequently you want to meet. There’s no “right” number of meetings, though many inner circles gather on a monthly or quarterly basis. The most important consideration is that it meets your goals for the group.
4. Establish a realistic time frame for each meeting. If you are meeting monthly do you need 2 hours or ½ day? If you’re meeting quarterly leave enough time for a healthy discussion. Remember these meetings are important to your company’s financial health and you will find your inner circle will give you the help needed to grow and profit.
As business continues to get more complex and competition increases, establishing an inner circle or informal board of advisors can provide you with support, encouragement and perspective to make tough decisions and meet the challenges of running a company.
Ask yourself, could this work for you?
Taken from the March 2016 Unique Business Solutions Newsletter