How To Choose the Right CEO Peer Group for You

Turns out that old expression is true: it is lonely at the top. 

As just about every CEO knows, it’s easy to feel siloed in what seems like an echo chamber, even after you’ve carefully considered feedback from talented managers, customers and staff.

Because no matter how you cut it, the buck stops with you and ultimately, big decisions rest on your shoulders.

Which is why CEO peer groups are an effective way to break out of the echo chamber and get feedback and advice from peers who understand your situation— because they’ve been there themselves. 

Who Can CEO Peer Groups Help? 

In general, CEO peer groups help business owners and managing partners capitalize on opportunities, kick-start growth, and accelerate the learning curve in a structured environment designed to foster the “cross-fertilization of ideas.”

More specifically, they help:

Time-Crunched CEOs and Business Owners

Business owners and CEOs often say they’re so consumed with day to day challenges they don’t feel they’re spending enough time focusing on long term strategy.

Peer groups give you the opportunity to use uninterrupted, focused time to brianstorm strategies that have the potential to increase revenue and solve big problems.

Seeking New Perspectives on Challenges and Opportunities

CEO peer groups can help you see new perspectives on a problem with the goal of finding alternative solutions. And often, frank feedback from other members not beholden to them can help adjust their own perspectives and managerial and organizational approaches.  

Seeking Support and Advice from Other CEOs and Owners

The support and advice of peers is invaluable for CEOs who are rethinking their role and vision for the company. Because these peer groups meet regularly, members get advice consistently from peers who are familiar with their stories and the challenges unique to their circumstances. And there’s value and peace of mind in knowing a variety of solutions have been considered from several perspectives before making a big decision. 

What Does A CEO Peer Group Do?

CEO peer groups generally meet monthly and provide a kind of corporate think tank where qualified, like-minded individuals discuss and provide opinions on issues from a variety of perspectives and industries. Members are encouraged to hold their peers accountable and to sharpen their own skill sets and techniques against those of their fellow members. 

Because peer groups provide an arena for sharing a wide variety of perspectives, members often find they become more creative problem solvers as they hear about and process solutions for other CEOs and owners, who are running companies in industries very different from their own.

Peer groups also strengthen networks and increase social capital that’s so crucial and valuable to CEOs.

Many members view the peer group as their very own, exclusive Board of Advisors who are genuinely invested in their company’s growth and success.

What’s The Process For Choosing A CEO Peer Group?

Seek Like-Minded Individuals

Look for peer groups that focus on growth and that only attract CEOs committed to excellence in their companies. 

Reasonable Requirements

Some peer groups ask that members meet certain revenue requirements to qualify for membership. (And membership fees are usually steep for these groups.) However, don’t let that discourage you if you don’t meet the prerequisite. There are many excellent CEO peer groups with reasonable fees that don’t have revenue requirements. Many only require that members be a decision making authority and have the ability to implement change in the organization. 

Discretion

Beware the peer group that does not require you to sign an NDA (non disclosure agreement). To have candid, frank discussions, group members must have assurance that their conversations will be kept private. 

Member Limits

It’s a good idea to ask if there is a maximum limit for members of a particular group. In general, groups that allow more than ten members can mean you won’t get sufficient time to focus on your specific issues and challenges. Even better if the group limits the number of members in a particular industry. 

Accountability

Finally, be sure you’re prepared to join a group that emphasizes accountability. Unless you’re truly committed to action and change, you’re probably wasting your— and everyone else’s — time. 

The right CEO peer group can provide a huge return on investment. If you’re looking for the kind of peer-driven feedback, support and advice that can kick-start revenue, foster creative problem solving and generate more opportunities, we should talk!