3 Reasons CEOs Need Peer Advisory Groups

businesswoman on phone, unable to discuss business challenges

So you are in the C-Suite. You have a high-functioning leadership team, a great group of friends and a wonderfully understanding spouse. Awesome, but who do you talk to about the challenges you face running a business? One that truly understands the complexities of strategy, finance operations, marketing, staffing and all of the other elements of a functioning business as a whole?

talking to your peer advisory group
CEOs and business owners who have never participated in a peer advisory group meeting are naturally apprehensive about what goes on. They always want to know – how can this help my business? How can I afford to spend a full day away from my business? Why do business leaders join these groups and what is the takeaway? They’re all good questions that should be asked by a CEO. Here’s why.

The Advantages CEOs Get from Peer Advisory Groups

Fresh Perspective

Bottom line, if you’re not steadily acquiring new knowledge and fresh perspective, your business will suffer. It’s important to get out of the hectic pace of day-to-day business operations, expand your knowledge and get you thinking strategically about your business. How valuable would it be to hear how another CEO/business owner overcame a challenge you’re facing today? You may believe that you have considered every possible angle of that issue you’re facing, but in a peer advisory group, it’s more than likely another member will have 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 major business issues. There are no “Yes” people in a peer advisory group. CEOs need honest feedback that can only come from others who have walked a mile in the same shoes.

You may believe that you have considered every possible angle of that issue you’re facing, but in a peer advisory group, it’s more than likely another member will have 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 major business issues. There are no “Yes” people in a peer advisory group. CEOs need honest feedback that can only come from others who have walked a mile in the same shoes.

CEOs need honest feedback that can only come from others who have walked a mile in the same shoes.

Trust and Confidentiality

The rewards of being with a group of trusted confidants with the free sharing of ideas and perspectives are significant. It’s important as a CEO to hear views that are not just within your industry but from outside your industry. In this venue, you’ll quickly see how an environment of openness and confidentiality breeds trust and empathy for one another’s challenges.

building trust in business group

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 their concerns about expanding their 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. Like everyone else, business leaders need to be able to connect with others on an intimate, trusting level. The best people to connect with are those in a position similar to yours. A peer advisory firm offers a sense of belonging and its members help each other overcome that “lonely at the top”, isolated feeling that’s been nagging at them.

From these shared experiences, members rapidly grow to trust one another with their most pressing professional (and personal) concerns. Like everyone else, business leaders need to be able to connect with others on an intimate, trusting level. The best people to connect with are those in a position similar to yours. A peer advisory firm offers a sense of belonging and its members help each other overcome that “lonely at the top”, isolated feeling that’s been nagging at them.

A peer advisory firm offers a sense of belonging and its members help each other overcome that “lonely at the top”, isolated feeling that’s been nagging at them.

Continued Education

Ordinarily, the only means available for CEOs and business owners to acquire this range of knowledge is by, (a) enrolling in business school classes or, (b) flying to different parts of the country to attend specialized business conferences. Change is ever-present, so as a CEO or business owner you have no choice but to keep learning. Going to seminars and industry-specific events is fine; however, those may be sporadic and provide a limited perspective. Among the most popular benefits of membership in a peer advisory group are the presentations offered by guest speakers—subject matter experts at the top of their fields who conduct interactive workshops with members 8 out of 12 meetings a year.

Going to seminars and industry-specific events is fine; however, those may be sporadic and provide a limited perspective. Among the most popular benefits of membership in a peer advisory group are the presentations offered by guest speakers—subject matter experts at the top of their fields who conduct interactive workshops with members 8 out of 12 meetings a year.

Catapult Groups Member Meeting

These half-day workshops focus exclusively on real-world best practices (no academic or theoretical discussions here) that members can implement immediately when they return to their business. These resource speakers (many of whom are either current or former CEOs themselves) offer cutting-edge ideas and techniques in virtually all areas of running and growing a business. Sitting in a boardroom with a dozen or so colleagues and working through issues that are unique to your company can help you tailor the program to your business and help with ideas for implementation.

Sitting in a boardroom with a dozen or so colleagues and working through issues that are unique to your company can help you tailor the program to your business and help with ideas for implementation.

Like-Minded Business People

The idea of spending a day outside the office may seem daunting, but entirely worth the rewards that come from spending a day with like-minded business people. So wherever you happen to be in this country, there is likely to be an advisory group and I would highly encourage you to get involved. Make sure that whoever is leading that group has strong character, has the experience of walking in a CEO’s shoes and can let your business soar.

Make sure that whoever is leading that group has strong character, has the experience of walking in a CEO’s shoes and can let your business soar.

For more information about peer advisory groups, listen to the Catapult Business Growth Podcast: E001: Why Peer Advisory Boards Are Good for Business

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