Follow the Leaders
I’ve been helping CEOs learn and grow in peer roundtables for three decades. I’ve seen CEO groups that were immensely valuable and important to the participants, and unfortunately, I have seen some that were not meaningful.
There are a lot of “secrets” to a successful peer group. If you want them all, just read Mo Fathelbab’s book Forum. But I believe that the one that comes before all the others is commitment.
Every CEO that considers joining us at VACEOs hears a very clear unsell from me. “Please don’t join us unless you are going to attend every single meeting of your roundtable.” I go on to tell them that this is the culture they are joining. If you are not there you are depriving others of the value of your experience and insights. Anyway, who would want to join a group where the members don’t show up?
Does it really matter? Well, we track attendance across 230 CEOs at 95%, month in and month out. Some peer group organizations must fill groups with up to 15 members so that they will have 8 or 10 at a meeting. We cap them at 10 because everyone will be there most of the time. There is a consistency to the engagement, and the conversation continues to deepen when there are no gaps in attendance.
Every December in my CEO roundtable we make plans for the next year. Each of us affirms our commitment to attend every meeting. The promise that we will be there for one another drives trust, openness, and in the long run, learning and growth for all of us. That’s the secret.