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The Growth of CEO Peer Networks: More and More CEOs are Turning to Each Other for Insight

Peer networks for CEOs have been around for decades but are becoming increasingly popular.

According to Chief Executive magazine’s new Guide to CEO Peer Networks, the leading peer networks—Young Presidents Organization (YPO), Vistage, Chief Executive Network (CEN) and G100—all reported strong growth in their membership sizes over the past few years. There are a variety of reasons for this, including: the increasing complexity of many businesses, a recognition by many CEOs after the great recession that they needed to look outside their organizations and experience bases for new ways to improve their businesses, and a realization by many CEOs that there is tremendous value to be learned from peers who have dealt with similar issues.     

It’s Lonely at the Top
According to Bob Grabill, Chairman of Chief Executive Network, “there’s some truth to the old adage that it can be lonely at the top,” but it doesn’t have to be that way, he says. “Many CEOs, especially those who are committed to continuous improvement for their organizations and themselves, find tremendous value in getting away from the day-to-day whirlwind and working “on” vs. “in” their business for a few days a year with peers who are not competitors and have dealt with the same issues and are willing to share their successes and failures in a confidential, safe environment.”

“Successful CEOs seek out best practices and ideas from peers and are committed to continuous improvement, including their own personal development.”

CEOs in Peer Networks Outperform Their Industry Averages
Studies commissioned by Vistage and Chief Executive Network show that their members, on average, have considerably higher growth rates and profit margins than their industry averages. It makes sense that more successful CEOs would be more open to and seek out best practices and ideas from peers and are committed to continuous improvement, including their own personal development.

Differences Among Peer Networks
Each of the leading CEO Peer Networks has unique features and appeals to different types of CEOs. For example, G100 focuses on serving CEOs of only the largest companies (over $10 billion in revenues), while most of the members of Entrepreneurs Organization (EO) are small companies with under $2 million in revenues. Young President’s Organization (YPO) tends to have a lot of young presidents of family-owned businesses in the $12 million to $50 million range, while Vistage has many lower middle-market members ($5 million to $25 million) who value frequent meetings with their peers and a coach. Chief Executive Network (CEN) tends to focus on mid-market CEOs ($10 to $1 Billion in revenues) and has industry-specific networks for CEOs in manufacturing, distribution, wholesale, software, architecture, engineering and construction, so CEOs can be grouped with non-competing peers who understand their businesses.

For more information about CEO peer networks, and the differences among them, you can download Chief Executive magazine’s free Guide to CEO Peer Networks by clicking here.


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