Leadership Disrupted At its core, leadership is about cultivating relationships, building trust and inspiring influence. Leadership guru Dale Carnegie was so convinced of this reality that he spent his lifetime teaching people how to “win friends and influence people.” Leadership development consultants Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman studied 300,000 business leaders and identified 10 key […]Continue reading
Why You Should Seriously Consider Joining a CEO Peer Group
No man is an island; if this is a cliché, it’s because it’s true. A need for connection is deeply ingrained in our DNA. Yet in today’s business world, executive status and success typically leads to more responsibilities, increased busyness, and greater personal isolation: a lifestyle that stunts our ability to connect with others and evolve. Meaningful professional connections can feel fleeting, difficult to forge, and harder to find. It gets lonely at the top. But it doesn’t have to be.
There’s a growing trend of business leaders who are forging circles of trust. The best of these CEO peer groups are based on transparency, mutual support, learning, and collective intelligence (as is the global organization REF). For CEOs and business managers, these organizations can be the most effective and rewarding embodiment of professional interconnectedness spanning a diverse array of industries, viewpoints, and backgrounds. They provide insight, inspiration, synergy, community, and purpose, all of which enable a personal and professional evolution that extends into your business.
More specifically, joining a credible CEO peer group provides:
A Sanctuary of Collective Intelligence.
A quality peer group attracts like-minded people who bring various backgrounds of resources, strategies, and advice. Most executives who join CEO peer groups are in it for the long haul, as the renewal rates exceed 80%. That’s no fluke. The most effective groups are those built upon a foundation of mutual trust, respect, confidentiality, and transparency. Members are from non-competitive companies, so they’ve no hidden agendas or qualms against sharing their expertise. They cultivate an openness toward even the most off-the-wall ideas that lead to breakthrough thinking, a safe and objective environment in which to share challenges, and invaluable advice and counsel from peers with real-world business experience. Just because you are in business for yourself, you don’t have to be in business by yourself.
Personal and Professional Evolution.
A perpetual challenge for CEOs is to continuously discover information previously unknown to them. What do you know? What do you know you don’t know? What don’t you know you don’t know? CEO peer groups provide magnification, opening your eyes to disruptive technologies, macro-economic trends, unconventional threats beyond your direct sphere of competitors, etc. Diversity breeds a cosmopolitan collective culture that promotes monumental reasoning. It’s a mecca for new ideas, which you can integrate into your own company philosophy or structure to remain competitive and flourish.
Realizations of knowledge gaps lead to more seeking of information and deliberate thinking. New information informs and improves your decisions. Better decisions lead to better outcomes, which lead to better experiences.
Motivational speaker Jim Rohn has famously said we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. If you invest in spending time with your CEO peer group, you’ll be all the better for it. Within an outstanding group, you are surrounded by fellow leaders who are team- and service-oriented, attentive, punctual, open-minded, honest, successful in what they do, good communicators, and cooperative with the group’s professional facilitator (the group’s director and “guiding hand”). You, in turn, are influenced to adopt or hone these same values and life skills.
Motivation and Guidance.
As a group member, you innately take on some accountability—a feeling that many executives inadvertently forget, becoming so overwhelmed by duties that their calendar no longer belongs to them. Peer groups see where you’re slipping and help you retrieve your time and purpose by helping you pinpoint, reconnect with, and schedule your priorities. They call you out on your performance and hold you accountable for solving the issues you’re stressed about. The important things—what’s imperative to your company’s success, like strategic planning and employee development—gain back precedence over the urgent things. Peer groups help you find balance by motivating you to focus on and act upon what matters. The quality of a decision is only as good as the information you’ve got to base that decision on; furthermore, the quality of a decision can have a dramatic long-term impact on your performance as well as that of your company. While there’s no crystal ball that can enable you to plan for every possibility, enlisting the help of a personal “steering committee” helps you mitigate unintended and undesired consequences as much as possible. Your peers can’t eliminate risk, but they have learned how to weigh it—plus, these advisors are as objective as they are knowledgeable.
Master Mind Cultivation and Molecular Change.
Napoleon Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich, described the “Master Mind” as a mind developed through the armonious cooperation of two or more people who ally themselves to accomplish a given task. The concept is fueled by and contributes to synergy: when the collective output exceeds individual accomplishments or expectations.
Different conversations and viewpoints help you think outside the box. Within a peer group, a collaboration of minds leads to a greater problem-solving system and new output of ideas; new ideas can challenge old foundations, enabling you to revise some of your viewpoints at a more molecular level. With time, everyone hones the collective—and their individual—problem-solving power.
It’s easier to get unfiltered and unbiased critiques from knowledgeable people who fully understand your perspective, can objectively challenge it, and have no hidden agenda or fear of tipping sacred cows. Honesty can be increasingly hard to come by the higher you climb up the corporate ladder; CEO peer groups enable you to attain real feedback, get the guidance you need, pinpoint your professional blind spots, and discover imperative new ideas. With such an armory, you exponentially increase your chances of overcoming even the highest hurdle and gaining the sharpest competitive edge.
CEO membership organizations are easily accessible and remarkably powerful. They can serve as revolutionary platforms for personal evolution and explosive company growth.
This evolution is multifold and self-perpetuating, encompassing individual and executive development via collective intelligence, peer coaching, and life-long learning within a global community.