CARE AND FEEDING OF ADVISORY BOARDS
What takes place after dinner must never be taken as counsel.
-- Philippe de Commynes, Memoires ( 1524), 2.2.
An engagement to be a member of an advisory board is like an engagement in love. It is a period of occupation without possession. You contract to advise even if nothing happens to your advice. If it weren't for our admiration of those who come to us for advice, we wouldn't join an advisory board. Besides, it's no fun being a distinguished advisor unless the people you know, know how distinguished you are!
From a company's standpoint, the last thing most companies need is more advisors who know what the company needs. But it is hard to see the picture when you're inside the frame. Hence, the basic rationale for a corporation to create an advisory board or council of outside experienced experts.
One important key is to consider the formation of such a group as a contracted resource for a specific purpose and over a fixed, if renewable, period of time for the contract advice. Advisors should not be tenured any more than top executives or statutory directors. 1
My perspective is that an advisory board is like the health care profession. It is one of but a few activities that strives professionally to destroy the reason for its own existence. An advisory board is relatively easy to establish. The problems that arise are in keeping the