It’s lonely at the top!
As a business leader, the buck stops with you, and while you may have a strong team supporting your business, ultimately decisions and direction lie in your hands alone.
Yet no successful leader accomplishes great things entirely on their own. We all need a support network we can turn to for a fresh perspective, advice, encouragement and accountability. But where to find such a network, and what do they look like?
Perhaps in a group of peers who understand exactly what you’re going through because they are in the same position. Variously called a peer advisory group or a mastermind group, this is typically comprised of 6-10 non-competing business leaders from diverse industries and backgrounds who meet regularly to openly share challenges, solutions, best practices and lessons learned in a confidential and collaborative setting, under the guidance of an experienced leader and facilitator.
If you’re wondering how joining such a group could benefit you and your business, consider these key advantages:
The Power of Collective Wisdom:
When you’re leading a business, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the multitude of decisions that need to be made, and to feel isolated. And although it’s tempting to rely solely on our instincts and expertise and pushing through, the reality is that seeking the support and counsel of like-minded peers can be transformative.
With access to a group of like-minded individuals who come together to share their knowledge, experiences, and insights, business owners and CEOs can gain valuable perspectives and insights that can help them make more informed decisions.
The Value of Diverse Perspectives:
As a business owner or CEO, it’s easy to become entrenched in your own world, focusing solely on your company’s challenges and opportunities. A peer advisory group exposes you to different industries, business models, and perspectives.
Whether it’s navigating market shifts, refining business strategies, or exploring new growth opportunities, the collective wisdom of the group can guide us towards better decisions through the diverse viewpoints, experiences, and the wealth of knowledge of the members.
And it’s this that is one of the greatest advantages of membership as a good group helps disrupt assumptions, shake up outdated mindsets and identify blind spots while providing built-in pressure testing for your ideas and strategies among an objective group of thoughtful leaders.
The Benefit of Supportive Accountability:
The loneliness and feelings of isolation of those at the top of organisations are well documented, as is the lack of true accountability for so many leaders. And yet, the best businesses are those with leaders who are held accountable for their decisions and actions, while studies referenced in leading business publications show the significant advantages to business of peer group membership.
Peer advisory groups are safe spaces where the members can openly discuss their challenges, share their successes, and seek guidance and support from individuals who are going through similar experiences. The members hold each other accountable for their commitments and goals, with this shared accountability fostering a sense of responsibility which ensures progress. After all, we’re more likely to follow through on actions towards our goals when we make commitments out loud to others. And the ongoing encouragement from fellow business leaders who relate to our situation provides moral support during difficult times, too.
The Growth from Ongoing Learning and Skill Development:
As business leaders, our thirst for knowledge and personal growth should be constant, and a peer advisory group is like having a customised business school available to you. With a diverse set of members, there are endless opportunities to learn from each other’s successes and failures, and then there are the opportunities to run workshops, invite guest speakers, and hold educational sessions to further enhance skill development and expand knowledge in various areas of business.
Furthermore, the relationships forged within the group can lead to invaluable coaching, mentorship and guidance, as members often share their own successes and failures, providing invaluable lessons for your own entrepreneurial journey, motivating us to set higher standards for ourselves and our businesses.
The Strength of Networking & Business Relationships:
A robust network is the lifeblood of any business. By joining a peer advisory group, you gain access to an extensive network of professionals who are eager to collaborate and support one another, while the relationships formed within the group can open doors to new partnerships, joint ventures, and business opportunities.
A peer advisory group can unleash exponential growth by leveraging the collective power of camaraderie and collaboration. Members gain access to an extensive network of proven vendors, experts, and resources that have fuelled each other’s success, facilitating valuable strategic alliances and partnerships within the group. Together, members can expand their market reach and unlock growth opportunities that may have otherwise remained untapped to you when going it alone. The relationships formed grow an invaluable network of authentic business connections that extend well beyond your business.
And so much more…
Avoiding Isolation and Burnout: it’s refreshing and re-energising to step away from daily demands into an inspiring space focused on strategic goals and vision. This community and connection with fellow business leaders on similar journeys and their camaraderie is uplifting, helping you maintain passion and stay the course.
Enjoying a Community of Shared Purpose: all leaders experience self-doubt, uncertainty, and the weight of responsibility at times. A peer group provides a community of others on a similar leadership journey to normalise the ups and downs, lightening the load through a sense of shared purpose.
Gaining an On-Call Advisory Board: you can often access the collective wisdom of the group through email, calls and online forums between scheduled meetings. When time-sensitive issues arise, you can reach out to trusted advisors 24/7 for quick guidance on emerging opportunities, threats and decisions.
Maximising Personal Return on Time: using only a few hours of time investment each month, peer group participation pays great dividends by shortcutting learning curves, uncovering fresh solutions, gaining strategy validation and accessing collective knowledge, for an unmatched ROI on time.
Better Balancing Work and Life: the camaraderie, mutual understanding and meaningful conversations found in peer groups this fulfills social needs, helping executives better balance work pressures with personal health and relationships. Leading becomes a more sustainable journey.
Increased Profitability and Growth: with ideas sparked by peer perspectives and accountability to execute strategic initiatives, members report increased profitability and growth resulting from peer group participation. For example, Vistage, one of the largest executive coaching organisations, reported that 64% of their member companies grew their revenues by more than 5% annually.
Enhanced Leadership Brand: participation in a professional peer group demonstrates to employees, customers and stakeholders that you are invested in leading at the highest levels through continuous learning and development., lifting your personal leadership brand.
Finding a Peer Advisory Group:
Given that the advantages of joining a peer advisory group are clear, how do you go about finding the right one for you? Here are some factors to consider when making your selection:
- Similar stage companies and industries. Earlier stage groups focus more on survival and growth while later stage ones tackle scaling and exit strategies. Many groups segment by industry too so backgrounds are aligned.
- Geographic proximity if meeting physically. Although groups can be virtual-only, giving you access to a wider range, being able to meet in-person gives greater benefit through more direct involvement by those meeting. Hybrid models moving between virtual and in-person meetings are also increasingly common.
- Culture fit. Make sure the group’s overall temperament and meeting format appeals to your preferences so you actively contribute.
- Facilitator experience. The quality and deep business experience of the facilitator makes a big difference in providing value.
- Meeting frequency. Typically ranges from monthly to quarterly, sometimes with day-long sessions, especially for the less-frequent meetings. Assess your schedule and needs.
- One-on-one support. Many groups offer one-on-one facilitator and/or member support between group meetings.
- Membership cost. Evaluate the value delivered relative to fees, which vary based on services provided. The ROI is usually excellent – but it really depends on you getting the level of services you’re looking for.
In the pursuit of business success, it’s essential to recognize that going far requires going together, as the African proverb puts it.
A peer advisory group offers a unique and powerful platform for business owners and CEOs to connect, collaborate, and grow together. Through shared experiences, diverse perspectives, accountability, continuous learning, networking, and collaboration, the collective strength of the group becomes a catalyst for individual and collective success.
While it requires an investment of time and money, becoming part of such a group provides exponential returns through your elevated leadership abilities, smarter strategies, and sense of community. You really can go farther faster together.
And finally, remember that in business, as in life, experience and commitment means “the weights don’t get lighter, you get stronger.”
If you’d like to read further, the following articles and posts might be of interest.
Other posts in this month’s focus on Leveraging Partnerships and Support:
- Building a Powerful Network – “Surround yourself with people who will lift you higher.” – Oprah Winfrey
- Leveraging a Business Coach – “Coaching helps you tap into potentials you didn’t know you had or that you had lost touch with.” – Cheryl Richardson
- It’s Lonely at the Top
- How Independent NEDs Can Catapult Growth in a Small Business
- The 6 Biggest Fears of CEOs
- 3 Rs of Great Leadership – Results, Reputation and Relationships
- 6 Temptations of a CEO
- Coaching is Transforming Business Leadership – Why & How
- The Power of Accountability in Business Success
From Harvard Business Review: The Surprising Power of Peer Coaching
And IndustryWeek: The Power of Peer Groups
Working together to take your business to new heights!
With over 50 years of experience in the technology industry, spanning three continents, and three decades in CxO roles driving exceptional growth in revenue and profitability, I now work with and coach other business owners and CxOs to reach even greater heights.
Let’s talk about your business goals and challenges, culture, leadership, board dynamics, strategic direction, emerging trends, joining a peer advisory group and anything else that can accelerate your business growth. Book a complimentary 30-minute call with me today!
Unlock the full potential of your business – and schedule your call now!
#BusinessFitness #CEO #Coaching #Leadership #Learning #Networks #Mastermind #PeerAdvisory #People #ProblemSolving #Resilience #Success #QOTW