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Executive Support – Or Go it Alone?

Someone said “A leader is someone who knows where he or she is going and is able to take others with them.” Strangely enough, however, they glance over their shoulder one day and realize there’s a parade going on and they’re walking out in front.

Does that sound like you? As the leader, you teach and motivate and care about your team. You exude enthusiasm, confidence and passion for your business. But where do you go to get recharged? Who do you turn to? I want to go over a few choices for you to consider instead of going it alone.

CEO Roundtables
These groups meet in person for a half-day each month in groups from 6-12 CEOs from a cross-section of industries, in order to talk freely and confidentially about their business challenges. Each executive presents an update to the group since the previous meeting of what they have accomplished, an accountability platform. One CEO gets the ‘hotseat’ for a more intense level of scrutiny by the team. A professional facilitator ensures progress and accountability on the part of every CEO participating. These groups can form based on company size, development stage, revenues size, geography, etc. Another approach to Roundtables is a pre-chosen theme for each meeting, and training or speakers to complement the discussion.

Mastermind Groups
These groups are similar to CEO Roundtables, but a Mastermind is more likely to meet by phone or a combination of phone and live meetings. A Mastermind will meet weekly, by-weekly or monthly, depending on the group. A Mastermind can be structured the same as a virtual roundtables by company development stage and need or around a particular growth need that all members are working on or interested in. In addition, the facilitator of a mastermind will ensure equal time for all business owners to cover both accomplishments since the last meeting as well as obstacles they face that they want support from the group to address. As with the roundtable, the facilitator ensures both progress and accountability by all participating executives.

Business Coach
The services of a business coach can be tailored to a specific function you want help with – be it sales, marketing, leadership, strategy, general management or some combination. A coach can work with you on site, off site, by phone, by email or some other mix that meets your needs. A coach can work with the CEO alone or with the entire leadership team, individually or as a team. These meetings are typically scheduled weekly, biweekly or monthly. A coach isn’t there to solve the problems for you (consultants and trainers will do that) but does ask the pithy questions that keep you accountable for followup and action items to move you forward.

Advisory Board
An advisory board is an unpaid group you have gathered around you to use as a sounding board if you don’t already have or need a Board of Directors. You may meet with each of your advisors or the whole board periodically.

If your advisors are also investors, family or friends; it may be difficult to be candid and frank enough to get the kind of support you need from an advisory board. Remember their primary role is based on their functional expertise (CPA, lawyer, sales, marketing) or being your mentor, or champion to financial markets.

Many business owners, sole practitioners and entrepreneurs use more than one of these options concurrently. They are not mutually exclusive. Some executives try one and move to another until they find a fit that meets their changing needs. There is no one size fits all. What works for one may not work for another. The important thing is to find the right help so you don’t have to go it alone. It’s out there. You just have to ask.

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