When should we not listen to the advice of peer advisors? Peer advising has its limits, does it not? How can anyone really know what I am facing anyway? They don’t sit over the top of this company! Do I really have to go through this process of listening to people who don’t get it?
Convene Team CEO participants ultimately ask these questions of themselves as they present challenges and opportunities to their fellow team members—that is, their trusted board of advisors. The questions they sometimes ask seems uninformed or way off target. They don’t seem to understand the problem, or the opportunity. They don’t always bring originality and the encouragement the presenting CEO thinks she or he needs. The CEO thinks that maybe their time and money might be better put to use than wasting time at a meeting of their Team.
Hopefully, however, that CEO will remember this is the same line of thinking that brought them to a peer-advising Team in the first place. They were isolated. They thought no-one understood or could help. In their arrogance they thought the problem was everyone else and had no attachment to them.
Now, in the middle of the hard work of communicating complex problems to intelligent and experienced people, people who have committed time and money to be there for them, they are tempted tot think the problem is their Team members, not themselves.
Is it wise for a leader to think they can communicate a complex, half-formed idea perfectly, especially the first time they have aired it out?
Does the CEO really think their idea will be immediately understood and embraced by people of all learning types, years of experience, and from such uniquely constructed personal contexts?
Peer-advising holds the premises that the leader makes better decision from working this process, and that NO-ONE sees with perfect clarity.
Will the Team always bring better insight than the CEO has him or herself? Not likely. But they will most of the time. And, it is important to recognize that without the Team working the process with the CEO, the CEO would not know the difference. How so? Because, by working the process, the CEO gathers new ideas and perspectives critical to how they approach their challenge or opportunity, or they receive confirmation that their thinking is sound because nothing new is offered. In such a case the CEO should be thankful for the confirmation instead of assuming they are surrounded by nincompoops.