Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Should I Join a Peer Roundtable or Hire an Executive Coach? 


Most CEOs I know have engaged an executive coach at one point or another. Having a skilled coach lead you through inquiry is immensely valuable – asking questions that help you think differently and see options and opportunities you could not discover independently. Some CEOs have a coach they work with on an ongoing basis. Others engage a coach for a limited time to overcome a challenge or to address a growth opportunity.

“As a business owner and CEO, your personal and business ambitions are intertwined. Coaching operates at the intersection of individual and business goals, helping leaders realize potential in all areas of life.”

Chrissy Keeton, Control Y, Executive Coach & Consultant

Peer Roundtables

Many CEOs also participate in peer roundtables, where they learn from one another’s experiences and find support in what is often a lonely role. Peer groups help CEOs gain perspective, learn from outside their industry, and work on their own health and happiness. There are many more reasons to join a CEO Roundtable, and peer group expert Leo Bottary lists 25.

Both coaching and peer roundtables can help individual leaders grow and be more successful at work and life. So, which one should you pursue? 

My answer hinges on this question. Are you living the life you want and making the most of the opportunity your business offers you? If you want more – more success, more growth, more peace, more family time – then “both” is probably the answer. 

Tim Morgan, CEO of Mid-Atlantic Entry Systems, agrees:

My answer is to do both. I have been a member of a CEO roundtable for nearly 10 years. My roundtable is a place where I can have vulnerable conversations about challenges and opportunities – both business and personal. My RT members ask thought-provoking questions and share their experiences with similar situations.

I have considered hiring an executive coach for a long time but have avoided doing so. I had many reasons for delaying the process: I was scared to hear what they would tell me; I questioned whether I could afford it; and I wondered if I would be able to change and implement what they taught me. About six months ago, I retained a coach from Eure Consulting to help me move our organization forward. We have worked on defining our culture rather than letting our culture define us. We now have structure to our meetings and problem-solving processes. They have also provided us with methods for setting short- and long-term goals and ways to attain them. I must admit it has been a huge change for us, but we improve every week.

My roundtable gives me a group to share my problems and accomplishments with, in a forum where I can say anything without fear of judgment and with the confidence that what I say stays within the room. My coach is helping us build our team, our processes, and our plan for the future.

Posted by Scot McRoberts at 1:23 pm
Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Essential Employee Retention Strategies

Prioritize well-being, a sense of purpose, & employee growth

In 2024, organizations continue to face challenges to attract and retain top talent. These increasing challenges are in part due to a highly competitive landscape for specialized skills, a demographic shift in the workforce (baby boomers are retiring, and Gen Z is filling their roles), and the reshaping of workforce dynamics where the mindset has shifted from “living to work” to “working to live.”    

These driving forces place greater importance on the critical nature of businesses to evaluate their retention strategies to foster engagement, happiness, and eagerness to stay. Implementing strategies that align with the evolving needs and expectations is essential. This article outlines key areas to consider when developing (or reevaluating) your retention program. 

1. Develop an agile leadership team 

Leadership styles in 2024 need to be agile, adaptive, and empathetic. Leaders who actively listen, respond to their team’s evolving needs, and provide support and guidance are critical to employee satisfaction and retention. Achieving this may require an investment in leadership and management training and coaching. Better managers = Happier employees = Greater engagement. 

2. Be transparent  

Open and transparent communication is essential for building trust within an organization and between managers and employees. Keep employees informed about company goals, challenges, and successes to ensure that employees feel valued and a part of the greater mission. 

3. Show your employees they are valued 

Organizations must create a workplace where each employee feels seen, heard, and valued as an individual. This quote from Pamela Stroko of Oracle Corporation perfectly captures this sentiment, “People want to know that they matter, and they want to be treated as people. That’s the new talent contract.”   

4. Invest in professional development 

Employees value employers who invest in their growth. Continuous learning and development are key retention drivers. Implement personalized training programs, mentorship initiatives, and upskilling opportunities to ensure employees feel invested in and have a clear path for career growth.  

5. Prioritize employee well-being 

Employee well-being is paramount. Go beyond traditional benefits to actively support holistic health. Embrace mental health programs, flexible work arrangements, and wellness resources as a means to contribute to a workplace culture that values your employee’s happiness. 

6. Embrace a flexible work model 

Remote and hybrid work has become the norm– the traditional 9-to-5 office model has been reshaped. To retain top talent, companies must offer flexibility in work arrangements such as remote workdays like “work from home Friday’s” or flexible workdays on holidays or special occasions. Establish clear policies and guidelines governing flexible work arrangements to ensure consistency, fairness, and transparency. Communicate these policies effectively. Being flexible builds trust between you and your employees to deliver results independently. 

7. Engage in social responsibility initiatives to foster a sense of purpose 

Employees seek purpose beyond a paycheck. Companies that actively engage in social responsibility initiatives and clearly articulate their broader impact on society attract and retain talent seeking a purpose in their work. 

8. Refresh your performance review process 

As remote and hybrid work become the norm, the traditional review process needs to be reevaluated. Modified versions must be embraced to proactively create a more relevant process to respond to this evolving dynamic. To learn more about this topic, read Warren Whitney’s article on Refreshing your Performance Reviews

9. Acknowledge and reward your employees 

Regularly acknowledging and rewarding employees for their contributions will foster a positive work environment. Personalized recognition through public praise or tailored incentives reinforces the value that each employee brings to the organization — recognition like this can greatly impact job satisfaction and employee loyalty. 

10. Integrate advanced technology 

Embrace cutting-edge technologies that enhance the employee experience. Staying current with your technology boosts productivity and demonstrates a commitment to innovation and efficiency. 

In conclusion 

As we navigate the ever-evolving workforce landscape, retention strategies revolve around creating an environment that prioritizes trust, well-being, growth, recognition, and a sense of purpose. Organizations that proactively address these elements will retain their top talent and position themselves as employers of choice in an increasingly competitive job market. By investing in their people, companies can build a workforce that is not just content but genuinely enthusiastic about contributing to the organization’s success for the long term. 

Contributed by Eric Wann, Warren Whitney

Warren Whitney’s HR team works with business leaders to strategically evaluate your best path forward. Our work includes strategy consulting, in-depth compensation and benefits analysis, organizational structure and planning, as well as talent management. If you have any questions or seek further clarification, please call us at 804.282.9566 or email Stephanie Ford at sford@warrenwhitney.com. We do not charge for the initial call. We want to learn more about your business needs.


Posted by Aida Pehlic at 12:20 pm
Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Spring Retreat 2024 Photo Gallery

Posted by Aida Pehlic at 1:41 pm
Thursday, May 9, 2024

Next Session of Roundtable Program for Key Executives Begins in October 2024

Key Executive Roundtables is our peer learning experience for “second in commands.” We created a peer learning experience for COOs, GMs, number twos, etc., two years ago and have run two annual sessions. We are ready to announce our third Key Executive Roundtable program, to begin October 2024!

Learning with peers accelerates the abilities of professionals. We know that from decades of serving CEOs in this way.

VACEOs is offering a cohort-style program for key executives from small and medium sized businesses that will:

  • Create meaningful connections with other professionals. A trusted network.
  • Accelerate the learning and growth of these professionals by expanding their perspectives and exposing them to others’ experiences.
  • Connect them with experts from the community in a wide range of disciplines.

The next session of Key Executive Roundtables will form roundtables of 8 to 12 executives, who will meet monthly from October 2024 to June 2025. These three-hour meetings will be led by a professional facilitator and consist of two elements.

  1. A confidential peer roundtable experience that gives everyone the chance to share issues and opportunities, and to learn from one another’s experiences. Essentially, a condensed version of our CEO Roundtables format. Participants are expected to commit to 100% attendance.
  2. Learning from subject matter experts on topics like strategy, execution, culture, technology, compliance, finance, HR, marketing, sales, etc.

This is not a VACEOs membership, but a program that we are offering to key executives of both member and non-member firms.

Cost for this program is $2,600 for VACEOs members’ key execs, and $2,900 for execs from non-member organizations. Fees are billed after acceptance. Commitment to attend all 9 meetings is required.

You can apply here. Deadline for applications is August 23.

$100 off for applications received by June 30.

If you have any questions, please email info@vaceos.org.

Posted by Scot McRoberts at 12:46 pm
Monday, May 6, 2024

VA Council of CEOs Presents McCabe Award to Bob Clark

Richmond, Virginia: The Virginia Council of CEOs (VACEOs), a non-profit association serving more than 200 small and mid-sized business owners, presented the Charles E. McCabe Leadership Award on May 2, 2024 at the Annual VACEOs Spring Retreat held at The Greenbrier Resort.

The McCabe Leadership Award, presented by the Virginia Council of CEOs Board of Directors, recognizes VACEOs members who make significant, long-term leadership contributions to the Council. Chuck McCabe, Founding Chairman of the Council, was appropriately named as the first recipient of the award in 2017.

Bob Clark became President of Baskerville in 2004. He joined VACEOs in 2005. He has participated in both a roundtable and a forum, serving as leader of these peer groups several times. Bob joined the VACEOs board in 2016. He served as Treasurer in 2017 and 2018. He became Vice Chair in 2019 and Chairman in the tumultuous year of 2020.

Executive Director Scot McRoberts said, “Bob was the perfect pandemic leader. When the world locked down and our in-person organization had to become virtual almost overnight, Bob helped our board make fast decisions, take risks, and ultimately serve our members brilliantly.”

In his past-chair year of 2021, Bob resumed the Treasurer role for half the year due to a resignation. Bob has always said yes to everything we’ve asked him to do, served gladly, and led with resolve. 

Tom Cricchi, 2023 McCabe award recipient and close friend of Bob, described Bob as “a man of principle[,] very committed to the idea of openness, transparency, vulnerability, and sharing. He truly is an MVP in our group,” while reading the award citation.

Posted by Aida Pehlic at 2:40 pm