Bill Reed, a chair with Vistage International, was one of five CEOs and peer-group facilitators who recently participated in a forum on the benefits of peer groups. Held in late September at Babson College, “The Power of Peer Groups to Support Growth and Change,” offered attendees an overview of the benefits of peer groups. Reed has been a chair with Vistage for several years and also serves as a partner at School Street Capital Group. He is a former CEO and currently chair’s Vistage’s CEO Peer Advisory Board and a Vistage Key Executive Group, which are comprised of leaders from enterprises in Rhode Island and Massachusetts.
PBN: How does Vistage work?
REED: Vistage is the original and oldest chief executive peer-advisory organization, tracing its origin to 1957. It currently has more than 16,000 members in 15 countries. Vistage offers its members three competitive advantages, including the monthly peer-to-peer advisory group meeting, which typically lasts an entire day; the world-class speakers who provide thoughtful, interesting commentary for our members and one-to-one mentoring and coaching.
PBN: What are some of the benefits of peer-to-peer to advisory groups?
REED: As a Vistage chair, I tell the members that it’s all about them. “You bring the content of the discussions, I facilitate the process.” The meetings are about their wanting to learn and grow, and their striving to become better leaders and to enhance their lives. In a totally safe and trusting environment where there can be no conflicts of any kind, they talk about all of their business and life opportunities and challenges and hold each other accountable in a supportive, yet “care-frontational,” manner for creating the business and life of their own design.
PBN: Can you share a valuable piece of advice you’ve received through working with your Vistage groups?
REED: We have a term we use in our Vistage groups: “care-frontation.” It takes courage for members to care enough about their leadership peers to not attack someone or tell someone what to do, but rather to continue to search for the “truth” that their fellow member is seeking, for the business and life that they (not you) are trying to design, and to truly help each other on this journey. •
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