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The Financial Times reported that a record 1,400 CEOs attended the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. A big reason, according the reporter Gillian Tett, is that the CEOs like to “mingle with their own kind in search of commiseration and support [and] Davos is their “self-help group.”

This is the same at all levels. Professional speakers are known for their wanting to be part of a (support) group and many find it in the National Speakers Association. Consultants tend to be more independent than speakers (and many consultants are also speakers) and yet many are members of the Society for Advancement of Consulting (I’m a member) or the Institute of Management Consultants.

There are numerous groups for business owners and small to medium sized company CEOs including Excell, Vistage, TAB and many independent groups. In most cases these groups meet monthly and learn, share and hold each other accountable. Many independents have a mastermind group that meets regularly or, like my group, has a monthly teleconference.

Why? Because it gets lonely when running a company, being your own boss and/or trying to grow your business beyond just your own means. In fact I just started a CEO Leaders Group that will meet quarterly and is open only past and present clients. There are many areas in even small businesses that require outside viewpoints and these groups can be invaluable.

Statistics show that companies with a business plan have sales and profit growth, on average, of up to double that of companies without a plan. Businesses whose owners or CEOs are in groups like those I mentioned tend to have business plans and therefore tend to do better.

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