Peer-based advising teams are proliferating. Yesterday I was asked about another one dedicated exclusively to CEOs of manufacturing companies. Had I heard of it? No. And I was not surprised because every month brings a new player in a crowded space. It is crowded because peer-based advising teams offer a proven resource to a strongly felt need: reducing leadership isolation, pooling time/expense in order to arrive at quality decisions and actions far more efficiently and persistently, and developing the leader along with the organization they serve.
As with any market, over time, low quality and non-sustaining offerings are going to disappear and the more resilient ones will prosper. That day is not yet. So…assuming you are a leader convinced of the value and committed to joining a peer-based advising team, how do you discern among the options?
And…since you are specifically considering Convene, what is its distinctive?
Here is how I answer the question about the Convene distinction:
- Love of God and neighbor. Convene centers on Christ and the gospel of mercy and forgiveness. That gospel is then lived in loving service to others. This element is front and center as difficult decisions about sustainability, profitability and legacy get made. It makes all the difference between seeing people as commodities or people as assets. Other peer-based advising teams may or may not have this element, and with varying emphasis.
- The Owner/CEO is developed as a steward. No-one really “owns” a business. It is going to pass on to others eventually, and the condition of its passing says everything about the stewardship of the leader. Who the leader is becoming, how they operate, and the well-being of all stakeholders are measures of stewardship. They are the measures that count. A healthy balance sheet and organizational growth are tools of the steward’s work, and contribute to the final sum.
- Community is the third leg of the stool. The other two legs are the development of the leader and the development of the organization. In developing leaders (leg 1), some peer-based advising teams work only with leadership capacities as they relate to business. Others invite the leader to work on their whole person (family/emotional/spiritual/physical well-being), believing the whole person is in play at all times. It almost goes without saying that all peer-based advising teams work on organizational challenges and opportunities (leg 2). Not all of them work at community, however (leg 3).
- Community is built on fierce conversation, iron sharpening iron, going toe to toe while confidentially and graciously working at personal and business challenges.
- Community is built on diverse and multi-faceted perspective. Convene Teams are not intended to provide fellowship among homogenous, same industry networks. Rather it is plowing and harvesting in the fields of what the leader does not yet know that they do not know, believing they will be the better for it. They do this work among people with the same commitment and the same level of leadership responsibility coming from a broad swath of organizations.
- Community is building a fabric of relationships that extend beyond time spent in Forum Days—genuine and mutual concern for each other’s welfare and the strength of their families.
- Community as in bringing our best to our times together because we are a team. What we get out of the time together matters a great deal, but far more important is that we prepare well, bringing our whole selves and full attention in order to provide our best thinking for fellow Team Members. The result of caring about the quality of our contribution as the highest priority is that the Team Member grows in the leadership capacity they seek to develop.
Convene Teams are recognizable because of this distinction of the ethic of loving service, the commitment to organizational stewardship and the building of strong community. This distinction is at the heart and the method of growing exceptional businesses, becoming high-impact leaders, and honoring God.