Ask Questions before Choosing a CEO Peer Advisory Group

3 Minutes Read

If you’ve been thinking about joining a CEO peer advisory group—and given all that membership in such a group can contribute to your growth as a leader, why wouldn’t you be?—it’s important to consider several factors in choosing a group that’s right for you. There are many types of peer advisory group models, but if you join one that doesn’t fit your particular needs, you stand to waste a great deal of time and money.

Before making a choice, we suggest asking the questions listed below. The answers you get will make the decision process much easier and lead you to become part of a peer advisory group that could well change your life.

For more information about peer advisory groups, listen to the Catapult Business Growth Podcast
E001: Why Peer Advisory Boards Are Good for Business

What’s the right size for a peer advisory group?

You join a peer advisory group to get valuable feedback and to give it as well. Based on our experience in leading numerous Catapult Groups, we believe the ideal size is between 12-14 members. Fewer than 12 limits the range of ideas and perspectives available to members, while more than 14 significantly reduces the opportunity for each member to discuss key issues facing his or her business.

What about diversity of membership?

A diversity of voices is absolutely essential to the success of a peer advisory group. Some CEOs and business owners think that being in a group that spans a wide range of industries might not offer relevant insights into the problems they face. But, in fact, business leaders across the board deal with the same types of challenges, regardless of their industry—issues related to strategic planning, sales and marketing, employee retention and turnover, business operations and succession planning. Members of Catapult Groups, for example, include CEOs, business owners, managing partners and other senior-level executives from many different types of (non-competing) businesses. What they all share in common is a commitment to working on their business, rather than just in their business.

What does the group process offer?

Again, different peer advisory group models offer different features and experiences. Take a close look at the various elements included in each model. Catapult Groups offer numerous member benefits, including:

  • Monthly “Mastermind Meetings”—Members share experiences, exchange ideas and hold one another accountable for making tough decisions.
  • Subject Matter Experts—Speakers with cutting-edge experience in key business topics (financing, sales and marketing, etc.) offer actionable insights to members that can be implemented immediately in their businesses.
  • Individual “Accountability Partners”—Members of Catapult Groups pair up to ensure that fellow members take actions to move their business to the next level.

Who are the group facilitators?

In some peer advisory groups, the facilitator has experience as an executive coach or an academic specialist in executive leadership. These individuals bring significant knowledge and insight to their roles, but in our view, nothing matches the experience of walking in the shoes of a CEO or business owner.

Catapult Groups are led by Group Leaders who have all run companies themselves. They understand from personal experience what’s needed to achieve success in the marketplace. And, most importantly, they’re dedicated to facilitating their members’ agendas, not their own. It’s a distinction not every CEO peer advisory group out there draws or even considers. That’s why some business owners get frustrated with the peer-group process and feel they’re being led by someone who doesn’t truly “get” what they’re all about.

What are other key factors in the peer advisory group experience?

Confidentiality is critically important. If the peer group model doesn’t include this as part of their experience, you should probably consider looking elsewhere. Only in an atmosphere of guaranteed confidentiality can business leaders truly “open up” about the challenges and opportunities they face.

Attendance and participation are also key factors. Business leaders are always short on time, but if the facilitator doesn’t demand regular attendance, no one in the group will get as much bang for their buck. Look for groups whose monthly attendance record is consistently high.

Our best advice is simply to “try one on for size.” Sit in on a group meeting. Get a sense of how members interact and how the facilitator guides the discussion and ensures that all voices get heard. If the fit feels right, go ahead and take the plunge. You and your business will see an improvement very quickly. That’s how much we believe in the peer group advisory experience.

We invite you to join other CEOs, managers and senior-level executives in a confidential group setting where you’ll be challenged and rewarded like never before in your professional life. Learn more about becoming a Catapult Group member today.

Brad Mishlove