Value in the Peer Group Concept

In my vast experience in speaking to CEOs in peer group organizations, such as Vistage, YPO and others, I am impressed with the ability to create accountabilities for a CEO by others who have no real skin in the game for that executive.

In my opinion, there are several reasons why these groups are catching on.

• The ability to share best practices and advice with others that have the same experiences as CEOs and have no reason to dilute their thoughts or opinions.

• Creating accountability to others that you don’t actually work for or with seems to be a motivator.

• Opening up about frustration without judgment becomes almost cathartic.

The ability to have a group mentor, or coach, who is not hired directly by your own company can candidly look at the organization at a 30,000-foot view and give true feedback for success. Having this type of focus will help in making new, creative decisions that you might not have thought of or shied away from.

Part of the appeal is to support truth and honesty. While we all encourage honestly in our organization, there is a tendency to hold back when someone is more senior. It can be refreshing to have someone to call you on what is really going on or what you might be afraid to confront.

Getting true feedback is not always comfortable or for the weak, but growth happens only when you confront truth. Not only can you rely on truth (sometimes, with no filter at all) but you can also rely on support. The support of others is always something humans look for. To get it unsolicited is an offshoot of this type of group that you get, and probably didn’t realize you would.

Joining a peer-based organization is great for growth, new thinking and accountability, but it’s not for the faint of heart.

Greta Schulz is president of Schulz Business, a sales consulting and training firm. She is the best-selling author of “To Sell is NOT to Sell” and works with Fortune 1000 companies and entrepreneurs. For more information or free sales tips, go to and sign up for “GretaNomics,” a weekly video tip series, or email sales questions to


Why Peer Groups are Valuable

“Accountability is high because there’s no ulterior motive. They want to make the other members proud … disappointment is not an option. It’s like playing a team sport. You just can’t let the team members down.”

Georganne Goldblum

Chair, Vistage, Florida

“… The idea of learning from others who are experiencing the same thing you are is empowering and credible.”

Frank DeRaffele

leadership speaker and

best-selling author of four books

Greta Schulz
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