“It’s lonely at the top” is a common expression for good reason — for CEOs, it’s especially true. Sure, you’re surrounded by people and if you’re fortunate — good people. But who do you talk to when you need someone with a similar perspective as you?
Family is unlikely to fully understand the intricacies of your industry and might not even know what it is you do all day. Employed friends might throw shade your way saying a version of, “Oh, please tell me how hard it is to be your own boss.” Neither camps truly get the unique pressures you face as a founder.
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.
What you’re looking for is a group of people who are “in it” with you, who have faced the issues you’re working on, can offer sound advice, help you avoid pitfalls they’ve encountered and maybe even provide that extra emotional support by simply knowing they “get it.”
So what’s the answer?
CEO Roundtables. CEO peer advisory groups. Masterminds.
They can go by many different names but the objective and format is often the same. They typically pull together a small group of CEOs from non-competing industries who are committed to meeting on a regular basis — usually once a month. This confidential forum allows members to speak openly about the challenges they face as business owners.
A Closer Look at CEO Advisory Groups
You may be familiar with the company Vistage — known for its Masterminds. Let’s take a closer look at what they offer…
Their approach is a great fit for some but it’s not for everyone. First, they require you to sit in face-to-face meetings for an entire day once a month. When you’re working to get to that next level in your business it’s difficult to break away for a couple of hours let alone an entire day. Also, with groups of 12 – 15 it becomes hard to get to know everyone and remember who’s who from one month to the next. The frequent turnover also doesn’t help matters much here.
Vistage is heavily speaker-focused. After all, how else do you fill an agenda for an entire day’s worth of content? The plus is that these are world-class speakers but that means you can more easily see them elsewhere — online, an industry conference, at a destination event, etc. They’re also encouraged to pitch to the audience. In fact, according to former Vistage coach Glen Hellman, “The speaker’s goal is to demonstrate value and sell their services to Vistage members. Speakers that don’t get business from Vistage members consider their speaking engagements a loser.”
And since the meetings are an all-day commitment, they are only held once per month. You know how much changes over the course of the month. So, what are you to do about issues in the time between sessions?
A Better Approach to CEO Advisory Groups
I believe there’s a much better way.
In 2019, I launched Anchor Advisor’s Business Mastermind Groups where we’ve been meeting with businesses running million-dollar businesses looking to scale to 2, 5… 10+ times that size. Through these intimate online gatherings, we’ve learned that holding sessions twice per month is the right cadence for you to get more frequent feedback and have the accountability you’re looking for.
When I say intimate groups, I mean it. We max out each group at 5 driven business owners so you have ample “floor time” where you can explore specific issues and plan what needs to be done before the next meeting to close the gap.
With groups this small you truly get to know people and their businesses better. Yes, there are no happy hours, or networking sessions, etc., but you’re not here to make friends — you are here to grow your business. You can dive deeper with folks on a more social level anytime you’d like outside our group sessions.
The conversations in-session are quicker paced, and with ZERO time wasted listening to speakers and no idle chit-chat we’re more focused on quality business conversation. Besides, if you’re looking for speakers there are plenty of books, TED talks, and other opportunities to hear from thought leaders in your industry!
With the groups being run online you forego the lengthy commutes that come along with in-person meetings — no traffic, no trains, and you could even wear shorts and no one would be the wiser. Plus, at 90-minutes each session it’s the right amount of time to get just what you need and then get on with the rest of your day.
Get in. Get out. Get growing.
See if Anchor Advisor’s Business Mastermind Groups are what you’ve been searching for.