The idea that top executives can find themselves in a lonely position is staggeringly accurate. Nearly two-thirds of CEOs and almost half of senior executives in a recent survey do not receive coaching or leadership advice. Many at the highest levels of a company turn their undivided attention to their business and employees, while not maintaining a focus on their personal development. This is understandable, as it can be difficult to rely on anyone within the company for advice and counsel, and yet still project an image of strong leadership. But this approach can also be isolating and hinder personal growth. And that can filter down and limit the success of the company and team members that the executives are trying focus on in the first place.
A supportive peer group of professionals in similar positions, meeting regularly, can encourage the consistent and healthy growth of others in the group. For a typical executive, the desire to set goals comes naturally, but the motivation to stay on track towards those goals can be a challenge. A peer group can help its members dissuade self-doubt and develop an achievable plan to hit their targets.
We all fail. But in each failure comes the ability to not only learn from that mistake, but also to help others learn. In a peer group, stories of not only wins, but also losses are shared, as it is more important to contribute something to help others than to keep a potentially embarrassing story in a bubble. Sharing failures can help senior executives understand their own experiences and render their failures into an investment in someone else’s success. But if these same executives remain isolated from their peer group, they can repeat the mistakes others have made and continue to repeat their own mistakes.
From a group comes personal accountability
The most effective form of accountability is external accountability. When you need to answer to a group of peers that you respect, it’s motivating. It’s a simple fact that it’s easier to disappoint yourself than it is to disappoint others. A peer group makes accountability convenient, regular and important enough to help you stick to your goals.
A good source of external accountability also increases the frequency in which your turn your attention back to your goals. Setting a routine of professional development, where progress and benchmark goals are regularly reviewed by a group with the expertise of having “been there,” is essential to building momentum towards a steady pattern of growth.
Remember, leadership is a process. There is no end goal or status that can be achieved. It requires continual nurturing, learning, discovery and refinement. When you join a peer group, you’re connecting to a long-term program with the relationships that develop into a lasting history. This allows members of the group to see patterns, or point out opportunities that might be missed or forgotten. These dedicated relationships can also become strong enough to facilitate tough conversations that will help illuminate blind spots, and push executives to the next level of their professional evolution.
Need to find a peer group of your own? Consider joining our Executive Circle Leadership Program. Our Class of 2018 features monthly individual coaching on top of great business icon sessions. Did we mention that we also plan to hold a graduation event at the Pro Football Hall of Fame?
Join the Executive Circle Class of 2018, and transform your safe space into a steady driver for your own personal and professional success!