University of Northern Iowa



Top 5 Reasons to Join a CEO Peer Group

Posted on Wednesday, November 13th, 2019

I was at the gym recently (within the last month I think) and noticed myself spending more time picking the next song on Pandora than I was exerting energy in any other way. So while I was building up finger dexterity and thumb muscles – the rest of my body was not exactly engaged.  I started off with the best of intentions – work out a couple times a week, maybe limit my Oreo consumption; you know, life transforming stuff. I lasted about a week and I could sense the Oreo’s anger at me, so I fell back into my old routine.  

I tell you this as a reminder that frequently our worst enemy is ourselves (and the Sweet Tea at McDonald’s, my gosh it’s like an illegal drug.)

We want to hold everyone accountable – employees, family, friends, the dry cleaner, everyone – everyone but me.  

Business owners are no different.  In fact, they are often worse than others.  Enter – the Peer Group!!!

Before you roll your eyes, it’s important to know that I am NOT talking about referral groups, networking groups, industry associations, etc.  Those are great and serve a need but what I am describing is a professionally-facility peer group focused on using the collective minds/experiences of the members to help each other.  

So without further ado, here are my top 5:

  1. Accountability – I just spent 3 paragraphs setting this one up, hopefully you read that part.


  1. Learning on Someone Else’s Dime – It’s all about experience sharing in a professionally facilitated peer group like I am suggesting.  You leave your advice at home and simply share how you have handled similar situations and the outcomes from that.  Often you can avoid the mistakes of your peers and the time/money they take.  


  1. Focus on the FutureUnless you have recently met up with Dr. Emmett Brown and the Flux Capacitor, none of us knows what the future might hold.  That said, you can glean a lot about where you and your firm may be headed by listening to your peers who have been where you might be looking to go.            


  1. Circle of TrustJack Byrnes and Greg Focker had some tough times with this one, but for the rest of us a Circle of Trust can be a powerful thing.  Its lonely at the top, and for many business owner’s it can be difficult if not impossible to admit to your employee’s that you don’t something.  Enter the Circle of Trust – here you’ll have a safe zone to talk through unknowns in a confidential setting.


  1. Time to Work “On” the Business – It’s so easy to get sucked into the operational vortex of the daily grind.  Fighting fires and checking items off the list is ego boosting and gives that sense of accomplishment that we all want.  If your head is down in the weeds, you will eventually lose sight of the lawnmower coming at you (I’m running out of metaphors, but you get the idea)


UNI’s Advance Iowa program facilitates CEO Peer Groups in several parts of the state.  To learn more about this programming, please visit us at