Blog  »  Peer Advisory Groups - Dedicated to YOUR Success

All entries

Filter by category: RSS Feed

Peer Advisory Groups - Dedicated to YOUR Success

February 15th, 2016 at 5:50 pm

My husband Tom is a successful architect who enjoyed the building boom for many years. His business, however, associated with housing and development, was one of those that came crashing down in the financial downturn of 2008.  Like so many others, he struggled to keep afloat.  He and his partner did not agree on how to secure their future, so they split, and the business went from a thriving 45-person firm, to six employees.  With a lot of work and worry, Tom was able to pull the business back together, even to the point where he was making money again.  But a huge question gnawed at him.  Could he sustain this?  Should he shut down or sell the company?  Should he bring in a successor?  Tom really labored over these decisions and after much night pacing and mental anguish still was not sure what to do.

A few years ago Tom joined a peer advisory group.  These were just the sort of circumstances such groups were designed to address, so he brought his dilemma to his group. Tom laid it all out – not just the circumstances, but his experiences, his values, the long view of his life, where his heart was. Unanimously his peers told him he still had “fire in his belly” for this work.  They challenged him to find the best performer he could and raise him up to take over.  Tom did just that, recruiting one of his former star architects back into the firm.  A year later, his “mini-ME” is in place and things are looking good.  My husband came back to life.  His peer advisory group was, in a sense, his professional emergency response team, dedicated to his leadership and success.

A peer advisory group is a confidential group of committed individuals who come together on a regular basis to help each other move through situations.  It is indeed lonely at the top, and often an executive cannot bring their teams in on “sticky” issues.  These groups can be all non-competing businesses but composed of peer level executives who deal with the same kinds of issues.  They challenge one another and work through situations and issues together.  This is a vital resource that provides mutual benefits to those who contribute to resolutions, as well as those who receive the obvious benefit of enhanced “brainpower.”   These groups are a new trend in leadership, one that provides leaders what they previously lacked – trusted advice, committed partnership in success, and a confidential lifeline in critical situations.

My husband’s group is Vistage, the largest such peer advisory group.  Since 1957, Vistage has been bringing together successful CEOs, executives and business owners into private advisory groups, whose sole purposes are to help members improve the performance and outcomes of their businesses.  Groups are regional, generally composed of about a dozen peer members.  I have my own similar peer group we affectionately call the “Tree House Gang” because we resembled more of a group of friends, all in the same business, who met regularly at our “tree house” of choice.  I have been part of this group for years, and we have laughingly said the only way out is to die.  We have become much more than “professionals” discussing our similar businesses.  We are friends for life who are genuinely involved and desire the best for our fellow members in business and in life in general.  There are many similar groups, such as Master Mind.  Each group has its own unique set of “operating procedures.”

I am excited to announce that I now also will be part of the Vistage family.  I have been selected as the first female Chair to serve the Charlotte community, the second Vistage group in the state of North Carolina.  Vistage really appealed to me not only because of my first hand experience with my husband’s group, but also because Vistage is so well organized and committed to the concept of helping each other reach significance in their professions.  This, of course, is near and dear to my heart, since my partnership with Vistage speaks to my own personal and professional mission – to be the best FOR the world, versus best IN the world, a concept I discuss in my book, “UP:  Pursuing Significance in Leadership and Life.”  It is not so much about doing better, it is about being better and being best for the world.  Leadership is not done, it is lived.  My commitment to Charlotte’s new Vistage community is that our city’s leaders will live all that’s possible for their leadership because they learn regularly from others who are best FOR the world.

Can you imagine what can be accomplished when you put a dozen or so high level business executives in one room and provide challenges for them to break through together?  All of the combined rich experience and wisdom is applied to all such challenges.  These aren’t just surface discussions.  The group dives deeply into intense issues, examining all aspects openly in an environment of mutual trust, respect, and confidentiality.  The potential in these groups is enormous.

Peer advisory groups are rapidly becoming the “tool of choice” for top level executives and business owners.  The Vistage system has over 18,000 members in 16 countries.  This powerful leadership resource is growing daily.  A 2013 analysis revealed that companies that joined Vistage over the past five years grew at twice the rate of average U.S. companies.

Now isn’t that a statistic you’d like to live?