Why Your Business Needs An External Sounding Board

No matter how smart we are, we can’t possibly know everything. It’s a hard reality to accept, but everyone needs a little support sometimes, especially when it comes to times of change in your business. During periods of dramatic or even basic change, people feel much more secure when they have a strong and clear leadership presence. What they need is carefully considered decision and action from their leadership teams. The problem is that during times of change there is a monumental amount of pressure for leaders to make decisions and take action quickly. This pressure can often lead to leaders acting for the sake of moving things along, rather than giving careful consideration and making a more informed decision. Sometimes, the best way forward is actually to stop for a moment and have a lengthy conversation with a trusted advisor about your progress, issues and plans. But what advantages does having an external sounding board give your business?

It Clarifies Your Thinking

At the very core, an external sounding board is a confidant you can talk to about everything to do with your business without judgement or bias. The temptation to act quickly may be great, but taking some time to talk through your decisions can help you understand your own reasoning better. The very act of talking through your ideas can help you clarify your own thinking and might even spark new ideas and solutions. Often the challenges leaders face are complex and multi-faceted, and these issues require more careful consideration. But busy leaders are often fighting with overstuffed diaries, so this makes taking time to reflect and consider very difficult. Taking time out of your day to talk through your ideas with someone you trust will clarify your thinking and boost your confidence the decisions you make.

They Sit Outside Office Politics

Times of change and adjustment can be incredibly stressful for everyone and this can lead to tempers running high. Office politics can make any decision difficult, but the pressures put on leaders by other employees to make ‘the right’ decisions can sometimes have the opposite effect. An external sounding board has no need to engage in office politics and play power games and so can give impartial and honest advice. They can be trusted to ask the seemingly daft but difficult questions, like ‘why would you want to do that?’ Or ‘what would happen if you didn’t do this?’ Those questions that no one inside the business would think, or be inclined to ask. Being external to your operations removes biases from the decision making process, allowing you to make the best decision for your business from a rational, considered perspective.

Is The Leader Part Of The Problem?

One of the most important reasons for having an external sounding board for your ideas is the very fact that they are external. This means that they can see things that the employees or leadership team, who are very close to the business may not. This includes highlighting when the leadership is actually part of the problem. In cases like this, the external party is able to highlight to the leader when they need to consider their own contribution and how this might affect the business as a whole. The external sounding board can point out differences between leadership and employee opinion, and will not be shy in pointing out if they think the leadership is misinformed or even deluded.

Leaders will often come away from sessions with their trusted sounding board feeling more focussed and clear about what they need to do, focused on what is really important for them and their business. They will also find themselves feeling less stressed and able to make the right decisions for their business. A leader who has carefully thought through their decision will more often make the right ones and this will instil confidence and inspire loyalty in employees. If you are facing changes in your business and need a trusted, external sounding board to help you, get in touch with us today for your free consultation.