A-Team Outside the Box

Outsdie the boxYour ‘Outside-the-Box’ A-team

Every business has its challenges, yet most private companies do not engage a board of advisors. So let’s look at your options a little more carefully to see how you might want to set up such a board. Creating an Advisory Board (BoA) is making use of a group of outside experts, in other words, an “A-Team outside the box”! I am playing a bit with words here, but I want to emphasize that you should try to think unconventionally and gain some perspective by adopting an approach that’s essentially “outside your business.”  Have this group bring you business knowledge that you don’t currently have access to, information of the sort that will encourage profound questioning and probing.

An advisory board will provide you with non-binding strategic advice. This option gives you greater flexibility in how you might structure and manage this group than a traditional board of directors. Your selection of senior-level business leaders, experts and thought leaders to serve on your BoA will be very important. It might be easy to ask your accountant, lawyer or best friend to serve on your board, but that will be a mistake. A board with a completely outside perspective will bring you a refreshing new way to view your challenges and problem-solving, and get you out of your four walls to help you concentrate on working ON your business.

You’ll want to have high-level advisors who can advise you on all things business.  Every one of them should have an appetite for forward-looking opportunities and bring a strategic mindset to the tasks at hand. The BoA should have a good cross-section of expertise, such as talent retention and acquisition, strategic finance, sales and distribution, leadership coaching and operations/productivity, to name just a few of your BoA’s skill sets.

Starting the process, you’ll need to focus on 4 steps:

  1. Selection of Advisors

You want advisors who complement your own skill set, but also understand the need to keep the conversation strategic and “big-picture.” Look for advisors who are excited about your business and industry and see in it the potential and opportunities.

  1. Commitment and Compensation

Decide what the rate of compensation for your BoA hires should be. For a lower middle-market company, make an investment based on the frequency of meetings. An advisory board member may earn between $1,000 – $5000 per meeting.

  1. Discovery Process

At the first meeting, introduce your company to the board. Give them a good background summary of how you have built the company, where you are today and where you may want to be in the next three years.

  1. Deliverables

For the first meeting, draw up an agenda yourself.  After that, the chair should create an agenda with specific action items for each meeting. Discuss deliverables in each session, whether they were achieved or not, and if not, why not. Based on that information, make appropriate adjustments and identify additional resources and support if needed.

Advisory board work is a long-term solution for your business and your executive team. View it as a long-term strategy to help ensure the future health of your company. The benefits of such an investment are that you gain access to a group of thought leaders and business experts who will brainstorm, help you define a better solution and add to your thinking power. If they are effective, they will hold you accountable for finding solutions and applying them to your business.

Several times in my work with business owners and CEOs, I’ve heard them tell me they don’t want to pay for “thinking.” I always tell them that while they might consider themselves as being very strategic and smart risk takers, having another set of brains on hand might just get them “outside the box” in terms of ideas and problem solving that will help them advance beyond their competition.

Developing an advisory board to support the future of your company is one of the best investments you can make, as long as the goals and deliverables are clearly stated and you see yourself and your company making progress. Never under-estimate the power of outside the box thinking and advising. You have an opportunity to assemble an A-team to help you sort out your priorities and challenges, all for a relatively small investment of $30-$75,000 a year. The return on this investment is a factor of many, not excluding the fact that you are becoming a true leader for your business.

Want to know more?  Contact Rudi Scheiber-Kurtz for more details at 617-449-7728


Join us at MDG – NSS will be Speaking

MDG January 2014 Forum:

The 4 Cs: CEO, Culture, Communications & Collaboration




Featured Speakers:


Who Should Attend:

  • CEOs, Business Owners, and Executive-level Leaders

Program Summary

In today’s highly competitive marketplace, organizations must remain agile, efficient, and responsive to the ever changing needs of their customers. Information must be accurately and effectively communicated across the entire organization so that important challenges/opportunities can be promptly addressed by Company resources.

Within successful companies, the CEO’s leadership assures that business units are closely aligned by the Company’s core values, mission, and strategic goals. As a result, shorter term objectives are clearly identified, while defining interdependencies and encouraging collaboration across the entire organization. Teamwork is endemic to a system in which everyone has a set of common goals and work together towards achieving those goals. Effective teams are characterized by trust, respect, and with a high degree of communication and collaboration.

Fostering a culture of collaboration may pose numerous hurdles for the CEO to overcome: additional time; perceived loss of autonomy; resistance to change; lack of confidence or trust in the decisions of others; conflicting perceptions; territorialism; and the diversity of skills and experience of team members.

However, these hurdles can be successfully overcome when the organization is properly aligned. With the leadership of the CEO, this alignment within the right culture will connect individual and team objectives to the higher level goals of the Company, and show everyone how their efforts contribute to the overall success of the organization.

Join us for an interactive panel discussion of CEOs and executives who will share lessons learned in how to apply the 4 C’s towards achieving an agile, effective and responsive organization to successfully compete in today’s marketplace.

About MDG

The Medical Development Group (MDG) is a community of individuals professionally committed to the Medical Device and other Medical Technology Industry segments united by the belief that innovation and advances in technology lead to substantial improvements in health care. MDG pursues this mission through the organization of educational programs and forums: the facilitation of cross-disciplinary dialogue and collaboration; the creation of venues for networking and information sharing for current and aspiring professionals, clinicians, and entrepreneurs; and the development of alliances with complementary organizations.

Planning Growth: The CEO Challenge 2

NSS Workshop Series for CEOs and Business Owners

CEO Workshops are part of our continuing series of educational forums where CEOs participate in peer-to-peer exchanges of ideas and thought leadership. We focus on the CEOs role as the center of the business. Prof. Advisors may attend with a CEO.

Planning Growth: The CEO Challenge

Wed | March 13, 2013 | 10:30am – 12:30pm with a light lunch

Place: WilmerHale | 850 Winter Street | Waltham, MA

Join a group of CEOs addressing strengths, opportunities and threats for the upcoming 12 months while reflecting on the past 6 months. Each CEO, teamed up with a CFO, chooses a challenge they are faced with and a course of action.

They then present the solution to the advisory board that will examine, question and probe the team from different angles.  The audience will add questions and comments and vote at the end whether or not to approve the course of action then will vote the solution a go or no-go.

Our theme is around the Strategic Challenge CEOs face:

  • Strategic Market Assessment
  • Organization & Talent Management
  • Growth Strategies from planning to delivery
  • Infrastructure build-out to achieve scalability


Laurie Halloran CEO of Halloran Consulting Group

Paresh Shah, CEO of  Mindleaf, Inc


Carol Kunik, CEO Coach, Vistage International will focus on the overall planned growth and how to realistically achieve it.

Advisory Board Members:

Joshua Fox, Partner at WilmerHale will stress the importance of looking at acquisitions for growth.

Bonni DiMatteo, President of Atlantic Consultants will focus on company culture and communications.

Bill Schmidt, Managing Director at Next Stage Solutions will consider the cost/benefit of the solution.

Does the glass ceiling exist or do women create it?

A provocative topic written by my friend Karil Reibold, President and CEO  of  Whaleback Managed Systems. She was asked to write a blog on women in business  for CRN magazine, for which she was named one of the top 100 women of the channel. She chose to write about whether the glass ceiling exists or not and sent the question to a group of women CEOs. She asked us to share our opinions and used some of our quotes.

Enjoy the article in CRN magazine

Rudi Scheiber-Kurtz