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As corporate governance continues to be a hot topic, ensuring that advisory boards operate ethically is crucial. This article, the next in our series about the power of advisory boards, zeroes in on the key ethical principles that should steer their setup and functionality. This ensures they deliver value responsibly and uphold the organization’s integrity and public trust.

Setting Ethical Foundations

The foundation of any effective advisory board is built on robust ethical principles. According to the Advisory Board Best Practice Framework™, these principles include clarity, independence, purpose-fit, structured discipline, and continuous measurement. These not only guide the board’s operations but also protect the integrity of the organization.

Clarity of Scope

It’s vital for an advisory board to have a well-defined scope that outlines its purpose, roles, responsibilities, and boundaries. This clarity prevents conflicts of interest and aligns the board’s efforts with the strategic goals of the organization. It ensures transparency in how decisions are made.


An advisory board should consist of members who offer diverse and independent perspectives. This diversity is key to avoiding groupthink and allows for effective decision-making. A board’s independence is essential for fostering honest, critical discussions free from internal politics or personal agendas.

Fit for Purpose

Advisory board members should be selected based on their expertise and their ability to contribute effectively towards the organization’s goals. This means choosing individuals who not only have the necessary skills and experience but who are also committed to the organization’s objectives. Their roles and contributions should be clear and directly tied to the board’s aims.

Structured Discipline

Advisory boards should operate under a structured discipline, maintained through solid governance protocols. These protocols should define how the board operates, including how often it meets, how it reports, and how it communicates. Such structure ensures that the board remains focused, productive, and true to its ethical commitments.

Continuous Measurement

The effectiveness of an advisory board should be continually evaluated against the organization’s strategic objectives. This ongoing assessment helps ensure that the board remains relevant as the organization evolves and underscores the board’s commitment to accountability and improvement.


Implementing strong ethical standards in the setup and operation of advisory boards is essential for more than just compliance or risk management. It builds a trustworthy foundation that empowers the board to be a true catalyst for strategic and sustainable growth. As we assist organizations in navigating the complexities of advisory board management, emphasizing these ethical considerations ensures their boards are both effective and respected pillars of governance.  How can we help you?

The Role of a Certified Chair

The role of a Certified Chair is pivotal in maintaining the governance and ethical standards of an advisory board. A Certified Chair acts as an independent facilitator, ensuring that the board’s processes are managed effectively and that ethical boundaries are respected. They also play a crucial role in aligning the board with the organization’s strategic goals.

Becoming a Certified Chair is a significant step for professionals aiming to enhance their governance capabilities and leadership skills. It prepares individuals to handle complex board dynamics and to lead boards effectively, ensuring that they operate within ethical guidelines and contribute substantially to an organization’s success.

Why Certification Matters

Certification provides chairs with the credentials and skills necessary to enhance board performance and to navigate ethical challenges proficiently. For those looking to advance their careers, obtaining certification can open doors to numerous opportunities to serve on boards across various industries.

Get Certified with the Advisory Board Centre

The Advisory Board Centre offers a comprehensive certification program for those interested in becoming Certified Chairs. Learn more about becoming a Certified Chair™ from our partners at Advisory Board Centre.

Next in our series: “Success in the Spotlight: Lessons from Advisory Board Triumphs”


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