- June 19, 2019
- Posted by: David Marshall
- Category: Management
As an executive, it’s often hard to find someone you can share your experiences and your fears with. The only people who truly understand what you’re going through are your fellow executives, usually at other companies and even in other cities and states.
Discussing these kinds of thoughts, fears, and ideas are where executive mastermind groups can be a boost to your professional growth and development. For example, there are several CEO mastermind groups where a facilitator or coach will gather CEOs from different industries and even different cities to learn new management philosophies, share their own stories, and provide feedback to each other. The members discuss problems and share solutions and ideas of how to solve the issues they each face.
The benefit of this kind of group is you’re speaking to people who speak your language, lose sleep over the same issues, and are looking for similar-but-not-competing opportunities. Mastermind groups are a better option for many CEOs because, as I’ve said before, showing vulnerability around your office can unfortunately signal blood in the water to your fellow executives who are looking to exploit any weakness they can find.
At least with a mastermind group, you can share those vulnerabilities knowing that you’re each bound by the same honor system that keeps you from taking advantage of what you hear, or trying to exploit another person’s weakness. And because of a promise of confidentiality, you can rest assured that what you share won’t be revealed outside the group.
Unfortunately, I never got to join any executive or CEO mastermind groups because they just weren’t available to me in small-town East Texas. Nowadays, there are plenty of organizations like Young Presidents Organizations and mastermind groups all over the country, but we just didn’t have those around when I was leading Robroy Industries.
But I wasn’t completely isolated during my career. Some of the best times, and one of the most influential times, I ever had professionally was the time I spent at the Center for Creative Leadership doing an executive MBA at the Darden School of Business. I learned more from the participants than I did the instructors.
It remains one of the most important leadership training grounds to anyone in the corporate, military, or even government world. For example, anyone who wanted to be promoted above the rank of Colonel in the armed forces had to attend the Center for Creative Leadership.
Similarly, all the NASA people involved in the astronaut program, including the astronauts themselves, attended the Center. (It just so happens that I was attending the Center during the week of the Challenger disaster. That was a somber time, I can tell you, because that crew were all alumni of the Center.)
Bottom line, no matter where you are in your career, you need a group of peers, like a Mastermind group, to help you learn those lessons you can only learn from other executive, and a chance to discuss those issues you don’t feel comfortable sharing with the rest of your staff.
I’ve been a manufacturing executive, as well as a sales and marketing professional, for a few decades. Now I help companies turn around their own business. If you would like more information, please visit my website and connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.
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