19 Aug 2011
You’ve worked hard to build your company and have met with success. You’ve got vision, courage, determination. You have hired people and built a team, hired people who were your friends.
But no one told you about the downside – employees, who were friends before they were hired stop talking to you. You have to make tough decisions that affect people’s lives, and often times, have do it alone. You can’t discuss difficult issues with your own staff because it could potentially have a negative effect or you might be misunderstood (especially in a down economy where everyone is on edge about stability). Anything you say can be interpreted many ways.
It’s no wonder that leaders can often get very isolated in their own company even when you have hundreds of people working for them, constantly surrounded by them and busy attending all those meetings and conference calls. It very paradoxical.
We call it the Business Isolation Factor (BIF). If you find yourself in this position, finding a peer group with proper support can really reduce the BIF. With reduced BIF, you can actually communicate more, focus and make good decisions. When choosing a peer group, look for the following:
Does the group contain your peers? In other words, are there other CEOs and business leaders in similar size companies (not competitive) that have been around the same length of time or longer as your business?
- Is there an opportunity for one-on-one mentoring? Someone to hold you accountable is critical for helping you keep your focus.
- Is the group confidential? All discussions with peers about company issues must be held in a confidential environment so you are free to discuss openly.
- Does the group meet regularly? Even though it may seem like a big commitment (and it usually is) setting aside time on a monthly basis with a peer group forces you to work on your business, as opposed to always being in your business.
- Is the group open and trusting? Are the members comfortable giving and sharing with no fear of being judged?
- Does the participation fit your budget and time commitments? Do you have to make a long term commitment?
In our Vistage group, many all of our members have reduced their BIF and are experiencing improved growth. They are suddenly talking more openly and discovering ideas within themselves, ideas which were struggling to get out all those years.
So go out there and find a peer group and get rid of that ugly BIF. There are many options out there, paid and free, voluntary and professional, religion-based, industry based, and geography based. Pick one and stick to it. One is right for you.