Who’s sitting at your strategy table—from OUTSIDE the building—helping your organization embrace reality and think about future strategy?  About managing future issues?  About leadership into an unknown future?

If you answered nobody, you’re part of the norm and not the exception.  In fact, organizations everywhere on the planet mistakenly believe that all the “answers” are INSIDE their own building.

What’s the problem with that thinking?

The answers are NEVER inside the building.  NEVER in your leadership meetings.  Never on your strategic planning retreats.  Nope, the answers are always OUTSIDE in the marketplace and community.  The answers are where the people you serve live.  Where your vendors operate.  Where your competitors prowl at night looking for an opportunistic opening in your wall.   Where people in pain need help.

LOOK OUTSIDE!

As a CEO Leader and strategist for 25 years, I’ve learned that if the answers are outside, we should (must) look OUTSIDE.  Forming an AdviceSquad is an effective way to get that job done.  More than a board of directors, an AdviceSquad is a cross-sectional representation of the players in an organization’s stakeholder ecosystem.

An AdviceSquad opens up your organization to fresh input that challenges its most cherished assumptions about where it is now and where it needs to go in the future.  The payoff is generating new information by getting more eyes and perspectives on the organization’s radar screen.

Done properly, an AdviceSquad can provide invaluable third-party direction on key projects, new opportunities, challenges looming on the horizon, crisis prevention, and crisis response.  Over time, the AdviceSquad will help an organization become adept at spotting the critical issues that will determine success or failure in the future.

FRAME YOUR FUTURE

I’ve had much success with this model by developing a focused theme for the AdviceSquad—like technology, or costs, or competition–and then letting the group loose to help “frame the future.”

The best success story for me came when my organization faced a revolutionary change in global trade policy that would affect every part of our business.  I assembled an AdviceSquad of experts in the vortex of that issue and debate.  We had economists, government representatives, academicians, consultants and others meet to drill deeply into every part of the issue.  The result was a catalytic spark that produced a strategic response that not only prevented a negative hit, it led to incremental revenue and stability.