This is “where the rubber meets the road.”
From the Coronavirus’s stunning impact to the increasingly rigorous environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues placed on every organization, to the exceptional level of performance demanded of leaders, the best leaders are shifting the way they and their teams approach problems. Every chief executive, business owner, or leader needs to prepare for the incredible challenges organizations face today that create shocks to the system.
But a chief executive receives no shortage of advice – senior staff members, paid advisors, close friends, and even spouses – all have opinions about which direction to head. How much of that advice, however, comes from someone who understands your organization? Who has no agenda of their own? Who can you turn to when your issue involves your senior leadership team, or that involves your business’s future? It can feel “lonely at the top” when you are facing big decisions. According to several studies done by Harvard, Stanford, and other leading business schools, leaders are often faced with feelings of isolation.
Many high-performing executives promoted or hired into the chief executive role are “uniquely unqualified” for the position – they have never done that job before and are often unprepared. This situation carries a significant risk for the organization, as even the best people can fail when facing scope or scale beyond their experience. Companies can mitigate risk, however, if they give leaders adequate developmental support through a peer advisory group to ensure their success.
A peer advisory group is a forum for fellow executives to tap into each other’s insights and experiences to solve their challenges. It is also a place to learn and grow. Peer advisory groups can vary greatly, from how often they meet and who moderates them to who participates and how confidential they are, for example.
Without giving it a thought, we experience the power of peer influence every day. Imagine what would happen if we were more purposeful about harnessing that power! Consider the advantage you gain when you’re more selective, more strategic, and more structured in how you engage your peers.
That’s the benefit that top leaders experience when they engage a diverse group of their peers strategically, on an ongoing basis. In these group settings, CEOs help one another grapple with their toughest challenges and identify and pursue their most promising opportunities.
While thousands of chief executives, CEOs, and leaders of all types will say that a peer group has transformed their lives, too many do not avail themselves of this great resource.
Despite unprecedented advances in technology and the unlimited ways we can communicate with each other across continents, the value of face-to-face communication with our peers and colleagues has never been more relevant. As the world increases in complexity, the next generation of leaders will need each other more than ever. If we come together in peer advisory groups, there’s no limit to what we can accomplish.
Very few business leaders have a consistent, structured forum for unbiased feedback. Very few have a confidential environment to work out concerns and plans, challenges, and opportunities. They want guidance they can trust from people they respect. I can’t think of a more exciting opportunity to bring the advantage of a peer advisory group to organizational leaders, both here and abroad, for years to come.