Why do CEO's and business Leaders need Peer Collaboration? The simple and quite uncomplicated answer is: it can be lonely at the top.
Although as a CEO you might have many direct reports (who may themselves have many direct reports) ironically CEO’s do not always have someone to talk to about the decisions that need to be made. Being the CEO or Business Leader means that “The Buck Stops” with you. You are responsible for ensuring that appropriate information is provided to the Board or Externally. You are responsible for making decisions that impact productivity, profit and people - and so many other facets of the business. The reality is that many CEO and Business Leaders are faced with making these decisions in complete isolation.
Business Leaders are human, just like the rest of us. And like all humans, they too have a need to know that they are drawing the right conclusions, at the right time, with the right information. For many, the decision-making and problem-solving process is filled with business cases, business reports, comments, criticisms, and feedback. At the end of the day, you need to take all that information (some of which may be conflicting) and make a decision that is the most appropriate for every element of the business.
Arguably, the Executive Team should be providing this support to you, but in a traditional management structure, most Executive’s lead their own individual part of the business. Those Executive’s may not have an overview of the whole company, they may not know what's happening in different sections of the organisation, and additionally they may struggle to be impartial. For some Business Leaders, there is no Executive Team to draw upon.
Peer Collaboration is not about swaying you to one decision or another, it's not even about weighing up the evidence, or having an opinion on the best course of action. It is being a confidential sounding board; to ask questions; to shine a light on blind spots; to allow a you to ratify the decision you have made. And do all that with someone who doesn’t have a vested interest in the outcome.
Peer Collaboration can provide a fresh set of eyes to a situation; away from the business, away from the politics, away from the stress and anxiety, someone who can just see the situation for what it currently is – and help you as the CEO or Leader hold that space.
It's lonely at the top, but coffee and conversation can sometimes make it a little less lonely. Who is your Peer Collaborator?