Entrepreneurs Are Mistaking Their Advisory Boards for Echo-Chambers
Oct 01, by Tanya Alvarez
When you go into business for yourself, the first thing you need is a trusted advisory board.
The problem that many entrepreneurs face, however, is that they accidentally create an echo-chamber instead.
For those who don’t know, the echo-chamber effect is what happens when you, the entrepreneur, and your “advisory board” are collectively too close to your business to look at things objectively anymore.
This can happen for a number of different reasons.
First off, maybe you inadvertently surround yourself with people who all happen to have backgrounds too similar to yours. As great as it is to bolster your strengths, it’s even better to complement your weaknesses.
Or, better yet, maybe you surround yourself with people who think too highly of you. You know, people who act as your cheerleaders, answering every question you pose them with an emphatic and enthusiastic ‘Yes!’.
Whatever the case, it’s important to pinpoint whenever you find yourself in an echo-chamber situation so you can actively avoid it going forward.
How To Recognize When You’re In One
As an entrepreneur, the first thing you need to do to spot when you’re in an echo-chamber is take inventory of the people you keep closest to your business.
- Do the members of your advisory board include your significant other or any close friends? The people who are often closest to you genuinely want to see you succeed, but this can come at a cost. Perhaps they’re doing a little too good of a job supporting you, causing them to agree with your every move.
- Examine how everyone close to you talks about your business, what feedback they give, what feedback they don’t give, and whether or not conversing with them ever leaves you with a new perspective.
- If you’re getting the same thoughts repeated back to you time and again, everyone seems to constantly be using the same jargon, and you’re not gaining any fresh intel, you’re most likely in an echo-chamber.
At Owners^UP, we’ve found this to be the case with most members before they join. That’s why we place them in hand-picked peer groups, pairing them with those who complement their weaknesses, not reinforce their strengths.
What You Can Do to Escape Yours
If you’re not constantly being pushed to leave your comfort zone, it might be time to surround yourself with a fresh set of minds.
- Start by finding and surrounding yourself with people from backgrounds very different from your own. After all, if being surrounded by like minds is what led you into the echo-chamber to begin with, then a logical first step would be to try an opposite approach.
- That also goes for business terminology. If you’re heavily entrenched in a particular industry or niche, then chances are good you’ve developed a certain vocabulary over time, perhaps without even noticing it. Try surrounding yourself with “outsiders” so you can communicate your business offering in a more meaningful way, outside of your bubble.
- And lastly, outsource your weaknesses however you can. If escaping your echo-chamber means shedding some of the individuals whose strengths align closely to yours, that means you need to pick up the slack. Focus on doing what you’re best at and listen to your new advisory board when it comes to outsourcing everything else.
Having that new perspective around is the key.
My Challenge to You
In an effort to help get you on the right path, I want to leave you with a 3-step personal challenge:
- Reach out to individuals on LinkedIn who can help bring new perspectives into your business.
- Set up 1 call each and every week. Use each call to pick that person’s brain about that which they know best, as it pertains to your business.
- Form a peer group with business owners from different industries and help each other on a continual basis. Or, if this is something you’d prefer to outsource, you can simply apply to Owners^UP.
Invest the time it takes to really improve by surrounding yourself with the right people. Listen with a critical ear and determine whether they help move you and your business outside of your comfort zone.
Do the things outlined above with regularity and you’ll effectively escape your echo-chamber.