If you’re engaging in an advisory partnership, it’s the perfect time to get past a difficult challenge or grow to the next level in your business. But many teams aren’t sure how to structure or maximize such a relationship. If you’re in a similar situation, here’s some insight into how to get the most from working with an advisor.
Set Schedules & Expectations
The first step to take when meeting with your advisor is to get clear about the engagement and your expectations. To start, your advisor should tell you how they prefer to work together. Some like to meet for one hour every other week, while others like a deep dive once a month. Some like texting and email; others prefer phone calls or in-person meetings. It’s important to get the cadence of meetings nailed down, along with communication preferences, so you can be on the same page moving forward.
On the company side, you should plan to let your advisor know how long you see the engagement lasting. Most advisory partnerships will provide maximum benefit over the course of 9-12 months, so decide on the right time frame for your organization and let your advisor know. You should also plan to meet with them once per quarter to give feedback about how much value you feel you’re getting so your advisor can be in the loop about whether they’re meeting your expectations.
When you set expectations initially, it should include defining core key performance indicators (KPIs). Even though advisors generally help more strategically rather than tactically, their guidance should still positively impact your KPIs if they’re adding value.
So, every month or so, plan to check in on whether your KPIs are moving in the direction. Is your CEO happy? Are the team members working directly with the advisor happy? These are all indications that you have the right advisor in place and that they’re making the type of impact you envisioned.
Any seasoned executive in an advisory role should fire themselves once they’ve delivered as much value as they can. After 9-12 months at a maximum, you’ll likely have extracted all the expertise you can from your advisor. It’s time to move on. If you set proper expectations in the beginning, it should be easy to end things on friendly terms. This way, your advisor can remain an ally of your business for life.