Follow the Leaders
CEO advisory groups and/or peer roundtables are often a lifeline for small and mid-sized business owners who want to quickly grow their business or avoid a common pitfall. For many, hearing from seasoned advisors and trusted peers who have “been there, done that” gives them the strategic and emotional edge they need, and helps them to get over that “lonely at the top” feeling that most business owners have.
So, how do CEO peer roundtables work? How often do they meet and for how long? Here are answers to the most common questions.
Roundtable peer groups typically have 8 to 10 people. This allows enough time for each member to meaningfully participate in all elements of the meeting.
The most effective CEO peer roundtable groups are a safe environment built on trust and confidentiality. Therefore they do not include competitors, business partners, relatives, clients, or investors. This helps to build camaraderie and trust among the members who are invested in each other’s success.
VA Council of CEOs Members are immediately eligible for “ad hoc” or one-time CEO roundtable sessions as they are offered. Permanent roundtable/forum placements typically take anywhere from one to six months. Once a permanent roundtable option is available, a new member is given the opportunity to clear the group to rule out any business or personal conflicts.
Roundtable meetings typically occur once a month. Meetings follow a strict protocol and structure and usually last between 3 1/2 to 4 hours. Some organizations, like VA Council of CEOs, train each new member on meeting protocol before he/she is formally placed in a group.
VA Council of CEOs expect members to attend every meeting of their roundtable. This commitment builds camaraderie and trust among the members who are invested in each other’s success. The CEO is the member and it is an intensely personal engagement. Second in commands or “fill in” employees are not permitted for this reason.
In general, the roundtable experience is about addressing the CEO as a whole person. The information that is shared in the meeting is confidential. VACEOs roundtable meetings strictly follow the Gestalt Language protocol where no advice is given. Meetings are highly-structured, timed, and only experiences are shared.
There are two parts to each VACEOs roundtable meeting. Each member gives a general update at the beginning of the meeting. The updates can range from: “I’m thinking about hiring a new CFO,” OR “I’m facing an issue with my health.” Then, the group takes a deep dive into one or two of the members’ challenges.
It’s widely believed that YES, business owners highly value their peer group, in fact, they often express that it gives them the ability to rise above the day to day grind and work on their business instead of in it.
Roundtables are valuable because members can lean on each other to overcome challenges like:
Six months ago we could not have imagined the changes we are all facing now. If you own a small or mid-sized business in Virginia, VA Council of CEOs (VACEOs) is here for you.
Listen in as Scot McRoberts, Executive Director, Virginia Council of CEOs, talks about a no-cost peer roundtable membership offer that expires on September 30, 2020.
Says McRoberts, “Don’t face this challenging time alone. Join VA Council of CEOs. You have nothing to lose and so much to gain.
We’re a network of CEOs and other expert who come together to help one another. And membership for you is free right now. I encourage you to join us.
As a member of our community, you’ll have access to the Emerge Stronger Conference by Pat Lencioni and his team. He’s involved a number of other CEOs in that content that I think you’ll find really valuable. And you’ll have access to replays of other presentations we’ve held. The topics range from underlying legal risks that you’re dealing with, to managing your own mental health, to effectively selling online.
But most importantly, you’ll be given access to a network of peers in a virtual, confidential, roundtable setting. Peers who are ready to share information
and knowledge with you that can help you succeed.
Apply today. I want you to experience a peer roundtable as soon as possible.
Let’s move forward together.”
This no-risk, no-cost offer is extended to those CEO’s who would benefit most
from the Council’s programming and community. More specifically, those who manage a business in Richmond or Charlottesville Virginia with more than $1 million in revenue and employ five or more full-time equivalent employees (FTEs).
As a Community Roundtable Member you will have access to:
Don’t delay, you’ve got nothing to lose. This offer expires September 30, 2020. Apply online for VA Council of CEOs membership.
Related post: Hear from Members (video testimonials)
We regularly check in with roundtable and forum members, asking how satisfied they are with their group, getting feedback on programs, and more. All responses are anonymous.
One of the most telling questions we ask is: “What two things about your Roundtable or Forum experience are most valuable or meaningful to you?” In essence, what are you getting out of the experience?
Here are just a few of the responses from the VA Council of CEOs 2020 Member Survey.
RESPONSE TO QUESTION: “What two things about your Roundtable or Forum experience are most valuable or meaningful to you?”
To sum, these CEOs of a small and mid-sized businesses have found that a group of peers – one that meets regularly and follows a strict code of conduct and confidentiality, has been a worthwhile experience that has made a positive impact on their business.
Read related posts:
Hear from Members (video testimonials)
CEO roundtable peer groups provide members a confidential and safe place to learn from each other and talk about the challenges they are facing, both professionally and personally. This video recaps why CEOs value the peer-to-peer experience.
Here are a few benefits to being part of a CEO roundtable peer group include:
Related link: “Virginia CEOs Find Answers and Solace in Peer Groups”
To say that many small and mid-sized Virginia business owners find themselves on an emotional and operational roller coaster today is an understatement.
“We as CEOs have been plummeted into chaos, and the levels of stress for us have accelerated exponentially,” says Connie Hom, CEO of Buckingham Greenery. “We are taking the lead in this crisis, and our teams look to us not only for empathy, but also for guidance and true leadership. This is probably the best test of how we’re leading.”
As the backbone of the U.S. economy, how will small business CEOs manage the COVID-19 crisis? Some, like Hom and Charlie Connell, CEO of PUNCH, are finding a safe haven in confidential (and virtual) peer roundtable meetups. Both Hom and Connell are members of the Virginia Council of CEOs, and Hom says her roundtable group has given her “the opportunity to vent challenges in a very safe place.”
“The feeling is that I’m not in this siloed by myself,” Hom explains. “This has been a fast-paced, changing environment. There are decisions as a CEO in regard to labor, clients and revenue, and the shared experiences have been very helpful. The virtual roundtable has truly been a breath of fresh air, and the Council membership has proven to be, for me, a port in the storm.”
Connell agrees. “My roundtable has always helped me deal with the emotional side of running a business. Now, more than ever, it has helped me navigate the business end of it. Without my roundtable’s support, I would not have been able to sift through all the information we were bombarded with in terms of the Payroll Protection Act and all the other support options that were put in front of business owners. Our experience-sharing has been more influential than any other resource in making the decisions I have made to deal with our current situation.”
The nature of the confidential information shared within VACEOs peer roundtable groups means that trust among members often grows quickly and runs deep.
Melissa Ball, Managing Member at Ball Office Products, has been a member of VACEOs since 2011. She describes her roundtable as “a good, solid group with a high level of comfort with each other.” Where they once met once a month for several hours, they’re now meeting every week for an hour. She says the format of the meeting now is less structured than before, but it’s been an invaluable outlet for her and other members.
On top of managing her family at home, Ball is also managing new vendors, new customer relationships, new ways of handling freight inventory, and much more. “I’ve never worked harder,” she says. “Sometimes you just need a sanity check, you know what I mean? I’m like, ‘How crazy am I really for thinking this or doing this?’ And then I’ll be like, ‘Okay, it’s not just me.’ It might sound flippant, but it’s real. When you’re able to pose a question to somebody and say, ‘Okay, guys, here’s what I’m thinking,’ it’s helpful to hear what other people are doing, especially as it relates to payroll and HR and emotions.”
Many of the CEOs we spoke with reported that at times they’ve had almost too much information coming at them from well-meaning organizations and industry groups – and that it sometimes adds to the chaos.
JJ White, CEO of Dale Carnegie Southeast United States, perhaps most concisely expressed how many CEOs are feeling by saying, “Now, more than ever, is the most critical time in your business to find people who can help you get through this, but more than just get through it – actually create something in your business so that you’ll come out of this better than you’ve ever been before.”
Do you run a small or mid-sized business in Virginia? Don’t face these challenging times alone. Virginia Council of CEOs is now offering virtual roundtables across Virginia. Contact VACEOs today to learn more.