CEOs swear by the peer groups they are in. The big question is….are they still finding relevance? There is no doubt that the CEOs in any given group are interesting. But at what point are the meaningful discussions pushed aside for comfortable, social interaction. CEOs may be reluctant to share what is really going on because ‘opening your kimono’ creates a great deal of vulnerability. Discussions often become more superficial than intended and the original value is lost.
What then, is the secret sauce? A CEO knows who he or she respects and wants to be associated with that peer group. And there is something to be said for a peer “support group” because CEOs have few confidantes. But sometimes comfort breeds complacency, and the very networking group that was supposed to build your leadership skills, network and company operations, has fallen into more of a social meet-up.
That’s where we begin—an honest look at your current peer group. Use these 7 signs to candidly evaluate if your peer group still has relevance:
1. You’ve grown fraternal/sororal.
Your group feels more like a ‘good old boy or girl network’—comfortable and familiar.
2. There’s no pain, hence no gain.
At the end of the day, you question what you get out of the experience and if it will propel you and your company to make changes.
3. Retreading of issues.
People don’t seem to follow the advice they are given, and yet they talk about the ‘same old, same old’ at each meeting.
4. Conflict and disagreement are non-existent.
No-one brings issues to the table—either because they are controversial or show leadership vulnerability.
5. No accountability.
You suspect you haven’t heard the whole story, but there is no challenge to go deeper and call group members out. Without a vested, third-party moderator, no one digs deeper and probes for more information and subsequent action.
6. Lack of member turnover.
It is hard to welcome newbies into a close-knit group. They don’t have history and don’t play by the rules established by the group—which means no new ideas or connections for you.
7. Members only share the good things.
We all want to hear about positive ways we can impact our businesses, but hearing about a potential landmine to avoid is just as helpful.
The trick is to build a sustainable peer group with a healthy dose of trust, a high level of commitment and a dash of conflict.
What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments!