Business owners/CEOs often ask, “What happens at these monthly meetings that makes them so valuable?” And “Why do CEOs want to be a part of these groups over many years?”
In general, the following takes place:
- Each CEO group meets once a month, for 12 months. Signing a confidentiality agreement is required at the first CEO meeting. The meetings are held from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the Enterprise Center in Salem, at a day agreed upon by each group. A light breakfast and coffee is provided.
- Each meeting begins with the Enterprise Center assigned facilitator going around the table to give each participant a 15-20 minute check in with any pressing problems, challenges, or triumphs they are dealing with. This is a group discussion about the successes and hurdles that a CEO is facing.
- The facilitator may incorporate some common issues that most CEOs face in the group discussion. Examples include:
- I am having problems hiring, managing or terminating employees. How do I handle this and what have others done here?
- I am overwhelmed with social media options for my business. Which ones have you used and how have they helped you?
- I don’t know how to manage my accountants or get them to hear how little I understand the financial impact of some of the choices I am facing. What is the best way to deal with this?
- I am thinking of putting in a new service, or dropping a product. I have thought of the upside and downside of each. What are your thoughts? How would each of you suggest I look at these decisions?
- Cash Flow Management – How do others manage this process and generate budgets?
- Funding – Where have other CEO’s had success in attaining funding?
Once the topic is introduced, all CEOs start discussing it, giving their thoughts and experiences, talking about how they did or did not handle this issue. The conversations are open and frank and always confidential. CEOs feel supported by each other and the facilitator makes sure that everyone is heard and has a chance to speak and that no one dominates the agenda.
- In addition to this round table discussion, the group decides on whether they would like other things included in some of the meetings. Each group is different in what they would like incorporated. Some additions can include:
- A reading assignment. One of the CEOs or the facilitator may suggest a business book for everyone to read that can be discussed at the next meeting.
- A CEO presentation. Some groups like to have one of the CEOs present their business for the group to discuss in detail. This can be monthly or as a one-off throughout the year.
- A subject matter expert. The facilitator will arrange to bring in an expert on a particular subject as an educational discussion. Could be an expert in bookkeeping, marketing, social media, etc.
- The meeting ends with each business owner setting the goals they agree to work on, over the next month, as a way of managing their progress. These goals are then discussed at the next month’s meeting as an accountability tool.
In addition to the group experience, many of the CEOs form long-lasting bonds with their co-CEOs in the group. They sometimes meet outside of the group and continue discussions throughout the month. Many of the CEOs stay together for several years of the groups…they learn together and grow together. These relationships are invaluable to so many of the CEOs that have participated.