CEO Roundtable formulation working notes

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Formulation thoughts for Bootstrap Austin Advisory Boards


The following notes were gleaned from conversations with Jonathan Davis, Chad Jewell, Jeff Hotz, Michelle Ewalt and David Swedlow The purpose of the notes is to collaboratively develop a model for some experimental boards of advisors within the Bootstrap Austin community.

The model initially looks like it is made up of:

Logistics information in no particular order

  • Size – 6-9
  • Frequency/meeting length – once per month / 4 hours in length / 1 year commitment
  • Location – in a central location for the group usually in a conference room
  • Attendance – YEO you are allowed one miss maximum each year or you are out / Meetings start after a 5-minute period for howdy and how are you’s. No one allowed in after the meeting starts. They also treat arriving after the meeting starts as a missed meeting.
  • No phone calls are permitted and if the phone rings or vibrates $100 fine the first time, the second = $250 and the 3rd time you are out of the group.
  • Cost for admission ranges from $3800 to ??? for the first year.
  • There is an agreement to not sell any services or products to any of the others on the board
  • The above item raises the question of what, if any, are the costs of being in a group. This also makes me think of compensation for facilitators or is it voluntary.


The YEO groups use a form (see attached) that is prepared by each member prior to the meeting in order to set and manage the meeting agenda that includes:

  • A way to open the meeting in a way that expresses how you are in the moment with out a professional façade. Titled ONE WORD
  • A self-scan focused on the best and worst of your business, personal and family life. This is used to I think to set the agenda for the day and to capture ideas and actions you will take from the meeting to address the challenge.
  • Achievement as compared to the last meeting
  • What achievement is next for you
  • A section identifying any needs you have or leads you have for the group
  • The section called PARKING LOT and GOLD MINE and BRILLIANCE, I think are designed to capture ideas while someone else has the floor.
  • The agenda is set based on expressed needs with more time allocated for the member or members who have the most immediate or urgent need. The actual flow of the meetings is pretty vague for me but Jeff and Michelle can fill in from their experiences.

Formulation of boards

This one is part art, attraction, and logic. Some random and conflicting thoughts:

  • Non competitors
  • YEO does not allow for group members to do business with each other in order to eliminate any land mines that can come out of a business relationship
  • Same stage of development and size so issues are comparable
  • A mix of valley of death and growth if the growth person is amenable for mentoring
  • Have the groups self form to eliminate the forced fit feeling that may be a by product of having someone else select the members
  • Make up a backdoor so there is a way to step out that is pre-paved so there is less chance of ruffling feathers. Example, after the first 3 meetings if there is a desire of someone to shop for another group it is known and not a surprise.


This one whether done via a skilled facilitator or with a member of the board obviously needs to be done well for maximum success.

  • Trust is a must therefore the “what is said here, stays here” agreement needs to be very clear. TAB and YEO gets into balance sheet and income statement details as well as family and partner issues so before a member is willing to open the kimono they need reassurance that they are not going to run into gossip about something they shared inside the group in the outside world.
  • Some of the groups I have known don’t allow for advice, which sounds counter intuitive. They limit interactions to 1) questions without an agenda and 2) any sharing of ideas comes in the form of examples, “here is what I have done that worked well in my organization. This may seem stifling but it has some merit. This can bypass what may be perceived as preaching or unwelcome advise that can shut down receptivity

Submitted by Stan Tyler