University of Northern Iowa



CEOs Learning from each other

Posted on Monday, August 31st, 2020

By Gary Nesteby, Facilitator for the Advance Iowa CEO Roundtables

PeerspectivesAs expected the Corona Virus and the impact that it has had on CEOs across the state is the top subject of the CEO groups.  Although many of the meetings initially have been dealing with the funds that have been available to the businesses and the impact on the workforce; we have transitioned to how we are going to handle the future and what we have learned this far into the pandemic.

Each meeting we begin with a 3 minute drill to recognize issues that we are dealing with in our lives.  The issues related to business, family and personal.  Following that exercise we prioritize the issue that we want to discuss based on the group consensus.

As we go through the issues among the group, I have found that the CEOs will most likely go to the most urgent problem on the list.  Not necessarily the one that they have in common but it seems to be a sense of how they can help a comrade work through this urgent situation.  The relationships that are built through this connection of monthly meetings shines above any issue that one organization can have.  That is the basis of the CEO meetings.  All the CEOs have their own problems, but they sense the criticality of how the issue impacts the person rather than just the business.

It is a sense of empathy.  Empathy is something that we all could use a little more of in this troubled world.  Family businesses going through transitions from the older generations to the younger generations have been an issue in many meetings.  We have had numerous meeting s and discussions about succession planning.  When we have empathy we see the business as a System and the interrelationships taking place; rather than each part being independent of the others.

Other Issues:

  • The impact of the supply chain and how businesses deal with delayed orders from customers has been critical to our business CEOs.  

  • The changes in the school learning process selected by your school district relates to how the business will manage the workforce that has two working parents.  

These are all a group of interrelated systems that need to be discussed and measured to find a corrective action that dissolves the problem.  That is why we promote leaders helping leaders in our monthly CEO meetings.

Think about joining us as these groups are problem solvers.