Compelling reasons for joining a peer advisory group
Fewer than 1 percent of CEOs participate in CEO peer advisory groups, yet most of the high-performing CEOs who are members of a group say their experience has lifted their organizations and changed their lives beyond measure, according to Leon Shapiro and Leo Bottary in their book The Power of Peers: How the Company You Keep Drives Leadership, Growth and Success. While the CEO’s life can be a lonely one, it does not have to be.
The authors assert that a CEO can gain a significant advantage from belonging to a group of peers if the following five factors are in place:
- Select the right peers—This involves reflection on whether you are well suited for a group experience, and whether a particular group is right for you.
- Create a safe environment—Conversations need to be confidential and free from judgmentalism.
- Utilize a smart guide—Maximizing the potential of any group depends on great leadership.
- Foster valuable interaction—Conversations need to be directed to what really matters to help members achieve their goals.
- Be accountable—Your fellow members will expect you to do what you say you will do.
People who rise to the rank of CEO typically need to have a high degree of confidence in their own abilities and judgment. Nonetheless, decisions are almost always better if they are made after consulting others, rather than in isolation. Often there is no-one within an organisation who sees the whole picture of the organisation in the same way as the CEO, so there is a significant advantage in canvassing the opinions of other CEOs.
In my view this book makes a powerful case for participating in a CEO peer advisory group. There are numerous compelling stories of CEOs who derived significant benefits from such a group, including in the areas of strategic ideas, enhancement of personal leadership skills, and personal support during times of grief and crisis.