Who do you know who really gets what you do as a CEO or business owner? You may have a high-functioning executive team, a great group of friends and an understanding spouse – but do any of these people truly understand the challenges you face running a business?
The underlying principle behind a peer advisory group for CEOs/business owners is simple. No one can grasp the complexities of the job better than another CEO/business owner. Only an individual who has made decisions about strategy, finance, operations, marketing, employees and all the other elements of a functioning business can have the same insights and experience that you do.
What does being a member of such a group do for you?
Trust and Empathy
When you’re in a room with a dozen or so other chief executives and business owners, you’ll quickly see how an environment of openness and confidentiality breeds trust and empathy for one another’s challenges. A member grappling with, say, an issue around succession and exit planning may be experiencing precisely the challenge you faced last year. Or another member will discuss her concerns about expanding her business into a new market – just the issue you see looming on the horizon for your own business. From these shared experiences, members rapidly grow to trust one another with their most pressing professional (and personal) concerns.
How valuable would it be to you to hear how another CEO/business owner overcame a challenge you’re facing today? In a well-run peer advisory group, members benefit from others who have “been there and done that” – learning from someone else’s mistakes, so they don’t have to make the same mistakes themselves. The savings in time, money and energy are almost incalculable.
Equally helpful is the free sharing of ideas and perspectives. You may think you’ve considered every possible angle of that issue facing you today, but in a peer advisory group, it’s more than likely another member will have an insight that never occurred to you. Each of us brings different talents and experiences to the table, but everyone benefits from a spirited, no-holds-barred examination of key business issues.
In your business, who holds you accountable for your actions? Certainly not the people who report to you. But in a peer advisory group, when you raise an issue, get feedback and make a decision about how to proceed, your fellow members will hold you to that decision. No excuses, no evading the tough choices. When you say you’re going to implement a new policy, you’d better be prepared to announce that implementation at the next group meeting. If not, you’ll definitely hear about it. From my own experience, I can tell you members consider this one of the most valuable advantages of being a Catapult Groups member.
Speaking of “been there, done that,” our Catapult Groups are facilitated only by men and women who have run businesses themselves. These Group Leaders have a keen understanding of what it’s like to walk in a CEO’s shoes, because they’ve done it. There are other peer advisory groups out there who bring in executive coaches and academics to lead the discussions, but we feel strongly that experience is the most important criterion for choosing a Group Leader.
Rather than just take my word for it, I invite you to listen to the Catapult Business Growth Podcast: E001: Why Peer Advisory Boards Are Good for Business