There is a wide range in the level of customer attendees - mixing the levels of attendees tends to lessen the amount of feedback and degree of involvement; it frustrates higher levels, is intimidating to lower levels, and discussions will go to the lowest common denominator.
Better idea - first consider the companies (not individuals) that are most strategic to your success. Second, identify the qualities, skills and/or characteristics needed to tackle the priority issues the board will be addressing, and align that to a role or roles. Develop a Member Profile based on those roles and recruit to that profile. We find that grouping by discipline is the most common advisory board makeup, for instance, all CIOs. Cross disciplines (level appropriate) also provide an added dimension and perspective; i.e. CIO, CMO, CFO.
Once you have identified the level of your board membership and aligned that to the right customer executive, look for additional traits such as:
- An individual who is recognized among their peers for their innovative ideas
- A strategic leader in their organization
- A "friendly skeptic" who is capable of challenging strategies in a positive way
Be sure to check back in a few weeks for Part 3 of 3, my final “Common Misstep” in planning and executing your Customer Advisory Board.