One thing I find interesting about a peer advisory group is how CEOs “play together”. Their behavior during an eight hour Forum Day is indicative of how they interact in other relationships of their lives—both professional and personal. This is particularly evident when a member is seeking wise counsel by presenting to the Convene Team a business opportunity/challenge. Is a CEO member distracted by email and telephone? Does he “multi-task”, thinking/saying he’s paying attention to the discussion at hand? Does she jump to solutions and advice prematurely? Does he strive for deeper understanding of the “issue behind the issue”? Are they bored with the conversation, visibly un-engaged? Does he enjoy telling/hearing his own “war stories” without regard for the others in the room? Does their sharing serve to sharpen the focus on the subject or does it derail the conversation? Do their statements reflect a true understanding of the person in subject?
I’m amazed at how often members are unaware or defensive of these behaviors. The Forum Day provides a place where we can speak truth with grace into another member’s life. That may include calling out behavior that is condescending, arrogant, defensive, prideful, unproductive, or offensive. When this is done in an environment of trust and concern, the experience can have profound impact on the CEOs life. I encourage members to utilize and embed the processes they learn at Forum Day into their own meetings and conversations.
St. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 12:3, “I tell everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than one ought to think”; and in verse 12:16, “Have the same regard for one another; do not be haughty but associate with the lowly; do not be wise in your own estimation.”
The prayer of St. Francis of Assisi asks “…Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled to as console; to be understood, as to understand.”
As Christian business owners we are called to stewardship of our companies and employees. Our duties as servant leaders are to listen to our people, seek to understand their issues, work with them to find solutions, and in that process help them to grow and excel in their work.