For most C-suite executives there is an inverse correlation between the scope of your responsibility and the number of times someone says to you: “I do not agree with your approach” or “Why are you pursuing that goal/decision/strategy?” The more senior you become, the more reticent people are to hold your Feet to the Fire©. If you are running a small or mid-sized business, your spouse or partner is a likely sounding board. If you are leading a Fortune 500 company, you may lean on your spouse and likely one to two close colleagues.

360 Degree CEOs© proactively and regularly surround themselves with advisors and peers who boldly challenge them. These leaders ask tough questions of their direct reports such as, “What is one thing I am doing that is the way of your success?” They ask their boards, “What do you know about me that you don’t think I know about myself?” They demonstrate the Leadership Courage© that is the hallmark of growing and evolving role models and mentors.

I am in Boston having just spent three days with my peer advisors. We laughed, debated, argued, and challenged each other while enjoying excellent meals, fine wines and in the hotel bar and across the boardroom table.

Beyond the richness of our discussions and experiences, why do I ensure I meet with them at least three times each year?

They hold up a mirror to the professional gains I have made. They quickly refrain, “Stop it” if they see me holding back from taking a risk or pursuing a path that is not in the best interests of my business and my personal life. They have my best interests at heart and I theirs. It provides a safe space where I can be vulnerable and as I result I grow exponentially. My clients benefit. My family benefits. My business grows. I grow.

As I challenge them to reconsider their priorities and applaud their big wins or sit close when they share the untimely passing of a friend, I am gratified for the opportunity to contribute to their success and I gain fresh insights into my own business. I observe this same positive dynamic with the CEO peer groups that I chair.

Who challenges you? I call it the CEO Island© for a reason. We have to get off the island. Join a peer group. Engage an executive advisor. Call me. Your business, your mental health, and your physical health will all benefit.

My clients accelerate their results – increasing profitability, leadership performance, innovation, and accountability. I would love to discuss how I might contribute to your leadership brand. Contact me today.

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