When you’re top of the totem pole, it can feel like there isn’t anyone you can turn to for support.
Sure, you’ve got a company working for you—subordinates, lance leaders, and perhaps even some out-of-house support—but it’s hard to figure out how to evolve once you’ve achieved a lofty position. It’s easy to get stuck in an echo chamber where your ideas aren’t questioned and there’s nobody willing to challenge you to grow professionally.
Often, the only way forward is to keep leading and evolve through failure. This is a great way to learn but is much less appealing when the fate of a company hangs in the balance. Indeed, it can benefit many CEOs to take a step back and strive to be a continuous learner, voraciously consuming media by peers that can give them the inspiration to move in the right direction.
Even so, direct peer-to-peer engagement is often the best way to learn. This philosophy has given rise to mastermind groups, collections of individuals in similar situations that are able to rely on each other for support. It’s not just about job training; it’s about exposure to a variety of perspectives and providing resources to those that may not have anywhere else to turn.
It can be hard to find a group like this. High-ranking business leaders are in short supply, and geographic considerations can limit the number of individuals that can convene in a space. Still, many have been founded by leaders looking to facilitate discussion and bring together similar individuals to strategize.
Far from an open forum, most mastermind groups dedicate each meeting to a specific challenge facing business leaders. Navigating a merger, pursuing a successful exit strategy, and expanding enterprise value are just a few possible subjects that these meetings might cover. Given the lack of formalized education for these populations, sharing stories and providing case studies can give insight to unique situations.
And meeting consistently is the key to success. Following up on the execution of specific tactics can empower CEOs to hold each other accountable and celebrate victories big and small. Even when it comes to ethical responsibility in business, a peer group can help keep each other on the right track and create more human-centric companies.
But at the end of the day, it’s all about the community. Isolation can be detrimental to business leaders, and a peer group can help them overcome loneliness and burnout. Some meetings can even be more social, encouraging general discussion and camaraderie in groups. Mastermind groups can even reach out to the community and pursue external initiatives to put their time and expertise to good use in a setting other than their companies.
Even for CEOs and other high-ranking businesspeople, the need to develop never goes away. For the motivated leader, a mastermind group can lead to lifelong friendships and foster business growth for all.