CEO Peer Group

It is truly lonely at the top: most CEOs do not have “safe” environments where they can share their concerns. CEOs often feel that any public show of vulnerability or uncertainty risks losing the confidence or respect of their boards of directors, employees, or customers. Rightfully, most CEOs are reluctant to open up to consultants or other subject matter experts because these vendors have conflicting interests (after all, they live off client fees, and succeed maximally when they create client dependency).

Furthermore, people who haven’t walked in a CEO’s shoes often do not have the perspective to balance competing interests that CEOs need to weigh, which can include employee interests and morale, investor demands, customer focus, and the ever-present tension between growth and profitability

Growing your business is never easy. With reference to Aristotle, “The whole effort of CEOs working together is greater than the sum of those same CEOs working separately.”

A CEO peer group is a leadership think tank of CEOs in regular meetings in confidential environments where CEOs can share ideas, best practices, experiences, and advice. High-performing executives value the perspective of other leaders, as well as the wisdom that comes from the practical experiences learned by others in similar circumstances. For these reasons, CEOs often make the best advisors to other CEOs, and an increasing number of CEOs find that peer groups are the best way to obtain such perspective.

CEO peer groups are not for every leader. To benefit, a leader must have the following characteristics:

  • Those who believe that holding a CEO title is the end of a journey should probably not participate. On the other hand, members who value continuous learning and believe every CEO must invest in their ongoing professional development make excellent candidates.
  • Peer group members must demonstrate a willingness to share their personal triumphs – and, as importantly – their failures. Hard-won experience (good and bad) is what provides depth and meaning for leaders of substance.

In addition to improved organisational performance, successful CEO peer group members aim to increase levels of satisfaction and performance in their own work as well as that of their employees, their customers, and their shareholders.