Forbes Shares 4 Ways Companies Have Quickly Pivoted During COVID-19

2020 has sent a lot of businesses in a new direction — but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Article by Serenity Gibbons

There’s a lot of tough or discouraging news during an economic downturn — not to mention during a pandemic and an all-around overwhelming year. Some businesses are scaling back their projections or shutting their doors altogether, not making it past this breaking point.

But there are still companies making quick decisions, and there are lessons to be learned. Sure, there’s been a big uptick in Roomba sales, but most success doesn’t happen by accident or in a vacuum. 

Fill a Need Quickly

There’s enormous demand for real-time data, especially in supply chains, in order to maximize efficiency during a pandemic. MarketWatch talked about this with business intelligence analyst Galla Pupel; anyone in retail should take notice. 

If you don’t work in data, however, there are faster ways to provide help to an underserved market. Simple apps can be really impactful. NOTIFY launched a straightforward big-button app for senior living facilities, a population adversely impacted by COVID-19 that needs immediate help.

The intent of the app is simple: If you make it easy for seniors to use video chat technology on a phone, you can increase virtual medical visits and limit exposure. There’s a also a mental health benefit to being able to stay in contact with family and friends from afar. 

That’s not hard to create if you’re a developer, and that’s one example of how a simple solution could have an outsized impact on a population in need. Reverse engineer your thought process, and start with where the greatest needs lie right now. COVID-19 is unlikely to disappear anytime soon, meaning the need for quick and easy solutions will only increase. 

Don’t Forget About Your Team 

People staying home also led to less access to childcare, as well as other functions associated with a busy work lifestyle. Parents became full-time teachers and workers simultaneously. 

Rover, a dog-walking app company based in Seattle, started working from home early because it could technologically manage and WFH policies were already part of its culture. With most people home, that created a temporary drop in demand for a service to walk workers’ dogs. The leaders of Rover knew that would happen. With employees working, parenting, and dealing with uncertainty, they quickly built mental health support into their workday. 

These leaders communicate daily with employees to check in on how they’re doing, not just how the company is doing. They encourage walking during meetings to get fresh air, which is also on brand. They host monthly digital coffee meetings between their executives and every employee to ask questions, share advice, and connect. All of these structures were created on the fly because the company recognized its employees’ needs in a time of uncertainty. 

If your employees know your company is committed to their mental health, they’re more likely to stay committed to your company. Whether it’s consumers or employees, people want to know that, as a company, you’re committed to more than the bottom line.

Build for Speed

Healthcare workers have been impacted by this pandemic more than most. While some have been overworked, others have lost their jobs and are quickly retraining to work in fields that are still up and running. To speed things up and meet demand, healthcare education provider Carrus launched shorter courses to help people find immediate work in healthcare. 

Contact tracer, home health aide, caregiver, and telehealth positions are in-demand jobs at the moment that aren’t tied to national certifications. These courses enable learners to get in, get out, and get working at an even faster pace to join the war on COVID-19. 

Shorter courses, faster entry, and career paths are elements that a lot of education providers will pivot to incorporate this year. This shorter time commitment may also attract job seekers or people shifting careers who have never worked in healthcare before. 

The key here, as in any industry, is to recognize what will be most valuable in the short term and find a way to provide it. Educational institutions and healthcare aren’t historically known for quick change — if they can pivot, you can pivot. 

Lend Your Platform to Important Voices

Even if you’re not building something new or creating a product, an impact can still be made. COVID-19 isn’t the only important thing happening right now. The push for racial equality is real and can’t be ignored. Pinterest recently launched Stories in beta. In collaboration with culture consultancy Warm Robots, the brand tapped nine leaders to tell brave stories. 

Pinterest could have launched that in a variety of ways, focused on cool ways to hack an IKEA bookshelf. But choosing to be intentional and work with a place focused on diversity of thought and talent sent a message. 

These examples of success in the midst of chaos might inspire you to go out and make changes during a tough year. More problems, after all, just signal a greater need for solutions — and smart entrepreneurs willing to create them.

Fact Company reminds us that- When running an organization, remember that flexibility has a cost

Amid the pandemic, many organizations are trying to remain flexible. But putting off making a decision has a real cost.

Article by Art Markman

The COVID-19 pandemic has created a lot of uncertainty. The number of new cases has changed substantially in the past few weeks in many states. The response of local, state, and federal authorities has changed in ways that have been hard to predict.

Despite the uncertainty, organizations have to make decisions. Universities (such as mine) have to decide whether to hold classes on campus in the fall and how many classes should be held. Companies need to decide whether to launch new products, to look for new sources of funding, or to downsize.

The outcome of any large decision is often unknown, because there are so many factors that contribute to success. When you are making those large decisions in a rapidly moving environment, there is a desire to avoid making the decision for as long as possible hoping that future information will bring clarity to the situation. Indeed, studies show that people tend to defer a choice when the future is hard to predict.

Deferring decisions has costs, though. Until leaders make key decisions, employees may not be able to prioritize their efforts, because the organization’s desired outcomes aren’t clear. The organization may lose the trust of shareholders, investors, or other key stakeholders who may not believe the organization has a clear mission.

In addition, the lack of direction may frustrate clients or customers who would like to know what to expect in the future. Also, leaders within the organization will need to focus on the decision itself rather than its implementation, and so there is a personnel cost to waiting for the future to choose.

So, in a situation like this, the cost must be weighed against benefits.

Interestingly, the same studies that demonstrate people like to defer decisions in the presence of uncertainty also show that people will sometimes accept costs to defer a decision, even if the information that is obtained later will not actually influence the outcome.

For example, suppose an organization is trying to decide whether to launch a new product line, and it does not know whether health conditions in the general public will get better, worse, or stay the same. Leaders might think it prudent to wait for more information about the status of the pandemic before moving forward. However, it is always worth making a decision tree to determine whether a different decision would be reached in each of these conditions. Key leaders do not always take this step. In some cases, leaders might find that the best outcome is actually the same regardless of the status of the pandemic. In that case, deferring the decision would involve paying a cost to defer the decision in order to get information that does not change the decision that gets made. There was no reason to incur that cost.

Practically speaking, then, there are three things to keep in mind: First, uncertainty about the future makes it attractive to defer decisions. Second, the choice to defer a decision until later has a cost. Third, unless you go through the exercise of making a decision tree, you run the risk of paying a cost to get more clarity, when the information you receive will not actually lead to a different outcome.

Good Feedback Is a Two-Way Conversation

Article from HBR by Joe Hirsch

Getting others to accept our feedback can prove challenging, especially when it’s critical. Worried that their feedback may lead to hurt feelings or diminished productivity, managers resort to face-saving techniques like the “praise sandwich” that end up doing more harm than good. The result is a tenuous feedback culture built largely upon evasion, confusion, and self-delusion.

This dynamic can change with a better message — and a bolder mindset. Based on my work with leadership teams, I’ve found that when performance conversations are powered by partnership, the landscape shifts. Not only do managers enjoy better relationships with their teams, but their feedback may even produce greater joy, not fear.

Rather than relying on a feedback hierarchy, managers should consider a partnership model that distributes power and increases two-way conversation with their employees — leading to a more authentic and revealing feedback experience that fosters trust, flows with the rhythm of work, and sets the conditions for positive, lasting change. It’s a humbler approach to managing people that focuses on asking questions, not giving orders. I call it the difference between “window gazing” and “mirror holding.”

“Window gazing” is a process of see-and-tell. Ask two people gazing out the same window to describe what they see, and you’re likely to get a pair of perspectives that are substantively different but remain equally valid. Not so in the context of work, where the imbalance of power allows only one view — the manager’s — to prevail. This limited picture of performance is often riddled with subjectivity and bias, as managers ignore, distort, and overlook details related to an employee’s work. That view becomes muddled over time, often resembling a “forgetting curve” punctuated by a sharp initial drop, followed by a slow and steady loss. While managers fumble over the past, employees are forced to sit in judgement, stuck in a present they can’t wait to end.

That changes with “mirror holding,” which offers a dramatic shift in the tone and trajectory of feedback conversations. Instead of telling their employees what to see, managers guide them where to look. They engage employees in thoughtful conversation about their current strengths, future goals, and how to bring those elements closer in line. Rather than offer directives, managers ask probing questions that help them better understand the picture of work and entrust their employees with opportunities to shape the way forward.

In my work with leaders at all levels, I’ve seen the power of a humbler approach. Mirror holding enlarges employees’ perspectives while expanding their opportunities for dialogue and reflection. It relieves managers of the prescriptive and often uncomfortable rituals of feedback — a hasty run-through of recent accomplishments, followed by a much longer list of deficits. And it transforms managers into people champions who actively promote the growth and agency of their employees. If the sign of a good leader is someone who creates other leaders, then mirror holding is the mark of transformational leadership.

Making the transition from window gazing to mirror holding takes deliberate practice, but it’s something every leader can do with the right amount of effort and intent. Here are a few recommendations for developing more mirror-holding in your touchpoint conversations:

Ask “hero questions”

Unlock the potential of your employees by asking “hero questions” that focus on their strengths and stories of success. These questions cut to the heart of employee experience — how individuals perceive their competencies and contributions.

Some of my favorite hero questions include:

  • Tell me about a time this month you felt energized.
  • What have you learned about yourself from working on this project?
  • What strengths have you found most useful on this project?
  • Who have you recently helped, and what difference did it make in their work and yours?

Asking employees to look back at these peak moments helps managers better understand what it took to get there — and, more importantly, what it will take to get there again.

Diagnose challenges

When employees hint to a challenge, pay attention to their cues. Is this person holding back? What does that individual’s body language and tone of voice convey? This process of scanning and listening can alert managers to the unseen emotional toll of work and how it is affecting performance. Try to uncover the employee’s perception of the challenge and how to address it with these prompts:

  • What outcome are you trying to achieve?
  • What is happening? Why do you think it’s happening?
  • What have you tried so far? How have you handled similar challenges in the past?
  • Have you tried to resolve this challenge? What happened as a result?

Helping others recognize work challenges can provide the first measure of relief. When issues are brought into the open, both sides gain clarity and can begin working towards a shared solution.

Shape the path

If performance is a journey, then it’s the manager’s job to help shape a path towards commitment. Once employees suggest a way forward, managers should guide their next steps. This steers the conversation towards actionable progress, making feedback more concrete. Try closing the feedback exchange with questions like:

  • How do you think you’ll act on this?
  • What is holding you back from achieving your goals?
  • What would happen if you tried this?
  • How can I help you recreate the conditions of your success?

The best feedback helps others understand their strengths and provides the encouragement and guidance to build on those strengths. Mirror holders set the conditions for positive and lasting change. Making that small adjustment in your mindset can produce a world of difference in your message — and just might help others see themselves in an entirely new way.

HBR shares How to …

How to Network When There Are No Networking Events

by Alisa Cohn and Dorie Clark

We all know the typical ways to network: by attending industry mixers, business dinners, and conferences. But of course none of those have been possible over the past few months, with so much of the world in quarantine. And even as various regions start to open up, large gatherings will be slow to come back, and long-distance travel will be limited. How should you be making new professional connections during this time? And how can you strengthen relationships inside your company when many people are still working remotely?

As executive coaches who work with leaders across the globe, we’ve spent years helping clients learn to build relationships virtually. As in the past, it’s still useful to deepen existing relationships and cultivate new ones by engaging on LinkedIn or other social media platforms. But in this unique time, we’ve identified several other strategies you can use to create connections. Here are three to consider.

Turn canceled conferences into private networking opportunities.

Since the pandemic began, many conferences and other large gatherings have been canceled, but even in their absence, you can use them as a way to meet people. Take a look at the conferences scheduled for earlier in the year along with those that would have been coming up. Identify participants who were supposed to attend or speak or who came in prior years. (If you don’t have the list, you can often email conference organizers and ask for it.)

Choose five to 10 people you’d like to connect with, and find something you have in common that might make them interested in meeting you (for instance, you’re both involved in robotics research, or you’re alumni of the same university). You can email them or send a message on LinkedIn saying something like, “We were both planning to attend [conference] this year. I had been hoping to meet you there, because I saw that we’re both involved in robotics research and I thought it might be interesting to chat. Since the event was canceled and we’re all grounded for the moment, I thought I’d reach out virtually instead. Let me know if you’d like to meet for a coffee over Zoom.”

One of Alisa’s clients, the CEO of a media company, employed this strategy. After a major conference he was planning to attend got canceled, he reached out to some of the people he had wanted to meet there and convened a virtual cocktail party. He developed relationships with interesting new contacts and was invited to speak at a future event.

Rethink geographic boundaries.

Before the world went remote, most professionals’ standard networking impulse was to focus on the people around them. We experienced this ourselves as hosts of regular dinner gatherings in New York City. When creating guest lists, we’d think about local colleagues and would tell out-of-town contacts to “let us know when you’re going to be in New York.” Now those boundaries have receded, and as we’ve shifted to virtual cocktail gatherings, we’ve realized that we’re free to invite people from around the world with whom we wouldn’t have previously been able to connect. During one recent Zoom networking event we brought together colleagues from Boston, New York, Minneapolis, San Francisco, and Austin.

We’ve noticed that our corporate coaching clients are applying the same principles and similarly taking a more expansive view. In the past, they might not have invited colleagues from different geographic regions to participate in a meeting if everyone else attending was in the same office. Now that so many of us are remote, they’re more comfortable inviting colleagues regardless of where they’re located.

Invite senior leaders to your online working group meetings.

The current crisis has raised a host of new issues for business leaders to consider, whether it’s the future of your industry, how your company is responding to particular challenges (from supply chain to marketing to employee engagement), or the future of global work. This presents a unique opportunity for you to proactively convene an informal working group to discuss these issues. In some corporate cultures, you can simply invite a few people and have it grow from there. In others, it may be important to check in with your manager first.

After gathering a group of peers a few times and establishing that the conversations are valuable, you can, where appropriate in your corporate culture, reach out to senior leaders and invite them to join a session, as either a participant or a guest speaker. A drop-by from a high-level leader may have been difficult, if not impossible, under normal circumstances — but with everyone working virtually (and the leader not traveling), a 15-minute appearance is often surprisingly easy to facilitate.

One of Alisa’s clients is the CHRO of the U.S. division of a Fortune 500 company. In the early days of the pandemic, she took the initiative to convene a regular call with her peers in other geographies. As the crisis has played out, she has invited multiple company leaders, including the global CEO, to take part. That got her onto his radar, and he now calls her personally to discuss how the various regions are doing.

Even though networking events have been canceled, there are many ways for you to build professional relationships. By employing these three strategies, you’ll emerge even stronger once in-person events start up again.

RACONTEUR shares 5 things that CEOS can do to be more Inclusive. The thing is: you’re missing out on profits if you aren’t intentional about your diversity and inclusivity.

Inclusion doesn’t just happen. Here’s what leaders can do…

Diversity and inclusion (D&I) is trending. Heads of talent recently surveyed
by Gartner selected D&I as the chief executive’s number-one talent priority. While culture is the most cited talent management issue on earnings
calls with investors, mentions of D&I have risen by 17 per cent since 2011 as
executives increasingly recognize its close alignment with the overall success of a business.

“D&I is adjacent to so many business priorities,” says Lauren Romansky, managing vice president at Gartner Research & Advisory. “We already know that diverse and inclusive workforces drive employee productivity and retention.

“More broadly, cultures in which
leaders and employees are tightly aligned in messaging, behavior and
processes can improve their performance by up to 9 per cent against
revenue goals, up to 22 per cent against employee performance goals
and up to 16 per cent against reputation outcomes.”

But inclusion is a discrete piece of the culture and performance puzzle that not every organization tackles explicitly. And in the age of digitalization, when innovation and collaboration are paramount, a lack of inclusivity will directly hurt business performance.

“CEOs want the best ideas and that means getting a diverse set of contributors, different opinions or points of view that challenge the mainstream,” says Ms. Romansky.

Take Red Hat, the world’s leading provider of open-source enterprise solutions, including Linux, and well known as an innovative organization. The company has built into its processes the expectation that all decisions will be made inclusively. The company believes, and Ms. Romansky concurs based on Gartner research and client engagements, that decisions made with diverse input produce better outcomes than those without it.

“Leaders who are inclusive build inclusive teams and those teams clearly outperform all other teams,” says Ms. Romansky. “In fact, teams with high inclusion and high diversity even outperform teams with high diversity but low inclusion, by 1.4 times.”

So what should you do to be more inclusive or develop inclusivity in your leaders and teams? Ms. Romansky offers a guide to the five things that inclusive leaders do differently.

Show integrity and settle conflict productively

These behaviors really differentiate the most consistently inclusive leaders, who are always fair and productive both in their own behavior and how they allow others in their team to interact
with each other. They make clear you want to hear the truth about
a situation no matter how inconvenient or unpleasant, and ensure
task conflicts are resolved in ways that leave all team members feeling respected and heard. Inclusive leaders are able to leverage conflict productively to enhance team performance.

Create a safe space where people feel free to take risks

The goal is to create a setting where everyone is safe to take risks, voice their opinions and ask questions. To make this “psychological safety” routine, inclusive leaders consistently seek different perspectives, set up check-ins with team members from different backgrounds and ask about their perceptions of work and communication styles, and inclusion. To encourage participation, they leverage employee resource groups and partner with them on discussion around difficult D&I topics and current events.

Walk the talk and back it up with processes

As mentioned, culture is the backdrop to D&I. The most effective leaders not only act as role models through their words and personal actions, they also ask the critical question: “Do the processes and policies I am responsible for live the culture?” Let’s say an organization is trying to drive a culture of collaboration and yet its people are constantly forced to say, “Great idea, but I don’t have that in my budget”. The siloed budgeting process is acting as a barrier to collaboration, probably inadvertently, but it is nevertheless sabotaging efforts to include a variety of stakeholders and opinions. Leaders own these processes and must take responsibility for removing process barriers to D&I goals.

Be accountable

Metrics are crucial to tracking progress against inclusion objectives,
though they should be consistent with the organization’s culture to ensure
success is tied to performance goals. Inclusive leaders ask employees about
mindsets, behaviors observed and outcomes they’re looking for. When
possible, they also ask employees what they see, compared with what
they do themselves. In our experience, this approach elicits more
honest answers. Though it’s productive to partner with human resources
to develop metrics and garner feedback, we’ve also seen leaders successfully captain their own surveys across business units.

Broker network connections

Leaders can’t be all things to all employees. Their team members may be looking for mentorship or support, especially if they’re under-represented at the organization or see themselves as an outlier in any way. Inclusive organizations use their networks to broker meaningful connections for employees and support their participation in firm initiatives, such as business-aligned employee resource groups. If done well, these groups can drive inclusion and empower employees.

This Post from John Thomas Lang shares 7 ways you can start working on inclusion and diversity in your organization today.

Better Work In Action: How Diversity and Inclusion Drives Success in 2020

This blog post is by our friend, John Thomas Lang (he/him/his). He’s Head of Content Marketing at Amount, a FinTech that is accelerating the world’s transition to digital financial services. Before joining Amount, he played a key role in scaling multiple award-winning tech startups in Chicago. A proud Colorado native, you can find John digging through the crates for vinyl records or supporting the Chicago music scene.


Fact—diverse teams Do Better Work.

But despite the clear consensus on the advantages of diversity and inclusion in the workplace, so many organizations and their employees struggle to successfully navigate this sensitive subject. Diversity and inclusion initiatives are more than just filling a quota; they prioritize inclusion, promote belonging, and foster an environment of Better Work. Which directly impacts the bottom line. 

McKinsey estimates that ethnically-diverse companies in the top quartile (25%) are 35% more likely to outperform those in the bottom quartile. Gender-diverse companies in the top quartile are 15% more likely to outperform those in the bottom quartile. 

As we look ahead to 2020, diversity and inclusion initiatives are no longer just a trendy PR talking point. The importance of diversity, inclusion, and belonging in the workplace directly correlates to the type of talent a company attracts. Glassdoor asserts that nearly 70% of job seekers said that a diverse workforce is an important factor when evaluating future employment. 

How will your company compete with the shifting job market in the next decade? Emphasizing a company culture built around diversity and inclusion is a great place to start. 

Diversity + Inclusion = Belonging

Diversity and inclusion are often grouped together as a singular entity, however, each element holds a distinct and purposeful meaning. 

Diversity encompasses characteristics that make people unique. Inclusion is about the social and behavioral norms that promote welcomeness. Combining the two leads to a workforce full of employees that feel like they each have a place in the greater fabric of their organization. 

Leading technology companies like SalesForce, Google, and others are incorporating roles like “Chief Equality Officer” and “Head of Equality” into their leadership teams. Smaller companies should follow suit. Think of your diversity and inclusion strategy as a progression through this flywheel. 

Take active steps to examine, engage and evaluate your strategy constantly to drive diversity, inclusion, and belonging.


It only takes a small start to get things moving. Once you take the first step toward building an inclusive workplace, the effects will ripple across your company.

Diversity & Inclusion Best Practices

So, where do you start? How do you build a world-class diversity and inclusion program from the ground up? A Cornell University survey of over 300 HR executives set out to find the best practices for attracting a diverse and inclusive talent pool.

They found that the following best practices attracted top-notch talent:

  • Fair treatment
  • Collaboration and teamwork
  • Organizational flexibility and responsiveness
  • Diversity training and education opportunities
  • Representation at all levels of the organization
  • Equal access to opportunity
  • A focus on innovation and collaboration

For many of us who work in tech, we see a focus on innovation and collaboration driving diversity and inclusion in the workplace. The more innovative your team strives to be, the more diverse and inclusive employees are drawn to your company.

The Cornell study found that “diversity in organizations may be supported by sets of practices to manage fair treatment issues, increase stakeholder diversity, and demonstrate leadership’s commitment to diversity, while inclusion may be supported by practices to integrate diversity into organizational systems and processes and encourage the full participation and contribution of employees.” 

Inclusion is the integration of diversity. Coupling this truth with these best practices at work can set the stage for a strong diversity and inclusion focus from day one of onboarding.

Diversity & Inclusion Strategies for Success

Two-thirds of active and passive job seekers said that a diverse workforce is an important factor when evaluating companies and job offers. With that in mind, it’s important to showcase your efforts during the hiring process while constantly examining, engaging, and evaluating your company’s practices. Remember the flywheel? 

There are a few easy ways to establish your benchmarks and build a culture that attracts a diverse and inclusive group of employees:

  • Craft a diversity statement that will serve as the ground on which your organization stands.
  • Establish hiring benchmarks for the entire company as well as individual teams. 
  • Be flexible in your policies. Creating an inclusive company brings more diversity of thought, traditions, culture, and communication. Finding a healthy mix of flexibility in PTO, remote work, and benefits is integral in creating an inclusive culture.
  • Engage your workforce with an inclusion survey and capture NPS.
  • Evangelize your efforts with prospective employees during the interview process.

Keep track of your projects and initiatives with project management tools and identify what went well and where there’s room for improvement. 

Belonging Matters

Perhaps the most difficult element of diversity and inclusion is creating a sense of belonging among employees. 

The same Glassdoor survey from above found that only one-third of employees were aware of diversity practices at their company, and an additional 21% were uncertain if those practices existed. That’s a lot of potential evangelists for your inclusion efforts. How do we reach them? 

Create a team dedicated to diversity, inclusion, and belonging. The team should consist of employees from all different levels with all of the diversity you’re seeking to create. Encourage all team members to volunteer and nominate each other, using the same diversity standards for hiring to fill the team.

At G2, we took this to heart and created G2 Together, a team dedicated to diversity, inclusion, and belonging. G2 Together consists of a leadership team and an executive sponsorship team, bringing together more than thirty of G2’s best and brightest across all teams within the organization. Our mission is to build a globally welcoming and inclusive product, company, and culture. 

The team is committed to continually overcoming unconscious bias to embrace and empower all human beings. We believe that differences in gender, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation and other aspects of human identity give us valuable perspective and help us reach our goals.

Tear Down Bias & Build Others Up

Creating a diverse and inclusive company is so much more than picking the perfect stock photo for your company website or celebrating holidays in the office. It’s about creating a pathway to belonging for each and every individual that engages with your product. It’s about tearing down the unconscious biases in all of us and making every person in your organization know they’re valuable and respected.

How can changes to IRS rules benefit your business?

IRS Rules Are Changing (For The Better) For Business Owners Due To Covid-19

Article by Moira Vetter from Forbes Magazine

For several months all eyes have focused on getting through the changing dynamics with our revenue, our teams, and our operations intact. Now that we’ve navigated most of the business hurdles of Q2 2020, many are swinging back to longer-term planning. 

For those of us that have participated, the PPP program has necessitated a look at our accounting and reporting operations. For some, this has meant opening new checking accounts to help better manage our paper trail. We have also had many more discussions with our CPAs to ensure we set ourselves up to handle our fiduciary responsibilities properly. 

Many do not begin planning for tax season until Q4, but there has been much talk about shifts in tax credits and deferrals that you should begin looking at now.

James Jack, Seth Carpenter, Paul Crisci, and Brad Dillon of UBS conducted a useful podcast in April, framing the immediate and long-term ways that Covid-19 might financially impact business owners. 

Although final decisions have not been made on all the items below, it is essential to begin thinking about them now as they could impact you at Fiscal Year-end, and possibly in years to come.

Changes in 2019 tax filing and payments

July 15 seemed like a lifetime away, but it is important, particularly as many of us begin focusing on re-opening our businesses, not to lose track of time. If you still need additional time to complete your federal taxes, you can still file for an extension using Form 7004.

Also, states have different policies and deadlines, so ensure that you comply with your local state guidelines. No one wants to deal with penalties at a time like this. 

Potential changes that may benefit you on your 2020 taxes

To further assist with the continuity of business and provide relief for small businesses, some tax policy is under review. It is worth looking at these areas to see if you should be recording or tracking things differently, rather than waiting until year-end and trying to backtrack. 

  • Delaying payment of Employer Payroll Taxes to 2021 and 2022 – While the administration continues to advocate for changes to payroll tax policy, there are interim discussions about potential deferrals or delays in employer payroll taxes. It is important to note that those who received PPP funding will not be eligible for this payroll tax relief. Understandably, if you’re using forgivable government funding to make your payroll, they would not offer a deferral. Again, payroll taxes are very much in flux, but it is crucial to keep an eye on this, particularly if you did not qualify for or participate in the PPP Program, and are looking for financial relief.
  •  Changes to Net Operating Loss Rules – When businesses record net operating losses, they are typically limited to the period they can use those losses against profits. There is a discussion that if you paid tax on earnings in recent years (specific periods to be determined), you might be able to claim losses in 2019 and 2020 against those past profits to receive a refund. For example, if you had a banner year in 2019 and paid a sizeable tax bill, only to suffer a significant loss this year in 2020, you may be eligible for a refund against past taxes. This could inject critical cash back into your business. Work closely with your CPA to ensure you are accounting for all losses of income and Covid-19 related costs to ensure you appropriately state this year’s profit or loss to recover what you can from previous year’s performance. 
  • Increases to the amount of interest expense businesses may deduct (potentially) from 30% to 50% for 2019 and 2020 – Given the number of working capital loans and financial relief packages that business owners seek at this time, interest expense is expected to be an increasing cost of doing business. Be sure that your CPA is working with the latest tables when it is time to calculate your deductions. If you have already filed and paid your 2019 taxes, and the IRS enacts this change, you may be eligible to take additional deductions on interest you paid on your 2019 taxes. 
  • Employee retention tax credits of 50% up to $10,000 per employee on wages paid from (dates in flux) 3/12/20 through 1/1/21 for COVID-19 impacted businesses – This particular tax credit will require much more definition before it is finalized. Not unlike the PPP and the SBA Disaster Loan program, the definitions for an “impacted business” continue to change as do the dates of the impact period. It is worth your time to work with your CPA to see if you qualify for this tax credit once the rules are finalized as the credit amount could be substantial. Note: There are different rules for those that employ under and over 100 employees, so be sure to review the guidance. 
  • Tax credits for employers who offer paid leave to those with Covid-19 – According to the IRS, “The paid sick leave credit and paid family leave credit are available for eligible employers who pay qualified sick leave wages and/or qualified family leave wages from April 1, 2020, through December 31, 2020, and who have fewer than 500 employees.” This program may change in the coming months in terms of the amount and function of the tax credits. Be sure to visit the IRS site for updated guidance. 
  • Payment deferrals on existing loan programs – Although it isn’t specifically tax-related, many loan programs are currently adjusting or deferring repayment schedules. Check with the SBA—or if you have payment programs in place with the IRS or traditional lenders—to see if your repayment schedule can be amended to your benefit. 

While anything related to taxes typically causes me to break out in hives, I love it when the word “tax” is combined with the word “relief.” If you’ve been operating with sub-par accounting help in recent years, now is the time to ensure you have a qualified advisor. Ensure you have the help you need to take full advantage of programs that can keep you in business while you pay your fair share.

Many of us were finalizing our taxes when the world went into a remote work stance. For those that did not file for an extension, the government moved the federal tax filing and payment deadline to July 15, 2020. 

What are you doing to get out of your comfort zone, stick with your plan, keep, attain, retain and expand your customer base?

CEOs can accelerate sales in a recovery using 3 core areas

Article by David Mattson

Sales is the lifeblood of a business.

As CEO, your sales team drives revenue for your organization and provides the time and space needed for you to focus on strategic decision-making.

However, sales leaders aren’t necessarily equipped to pull through a crisis like the one we’re in now. In part, that’s because sales leaders are often the least-trained people in an organization, as they come to the role with little or no experience in management. In addition, the average sales manager has only five to seven years of tenure, which means the majority did not work in a managerial role through the 2008 financial downturn.

It may also be the case that as CEO of a small to midsize business, you are the person accountable for sales. Either way, it’s your responsibility to get your sales function ready for what’s next because it plays a critical role in your company’s recovery. Fortunately, salespeople are made, not born, so they tend to be fast learners. Here’s how to prepare them and, in the process, increase the efficiency of your entire sales operation.

The Success Triangle

To build a strong sales team, you need people who have the right attitude, practice the right behaviors and use the right techniques. These components make up what I call “The Success Triangle.” In the context of sales, attitude refers to how salespeople think about a sales scenario; behavior refers to when and how often salespeople engage in sales activities; and technique refers to how salespeople actually perform those activities.

When coaching a sales team, sales leaders tend to focus more on the techniques of selling than the attitudes or behaviors involved. But it’s important to emphasize all three areas. Consider what happens when any of these components is missing from a salesforce:

  • Behavior + Technique – Attitude = Salespeople go through the motions
  • Attitude + Technique – Behavior = Salespeople work frantically and sporadically
  • Attitude + Behavior – Technique = Salespeople work too hard

Let’s take a closer look at these three components and what you can do to make them stronger.

1. Attitude: Get out of your comfort zone

Attitude is about mindset. To get in the right mindset, you need to get out of your comfort zone. The reason: If you’re always working in your comfort zone, you’re only operating at 60 to 70% of your capacity.

Salespeople often fall into this trap once they’ve made enough money to pay their bills, or they’ve achieved a professional title they’re satisfied with. Unconsciously, they say to themselves: “Why would I stretch myself when I’m perfectly comfortable here?”

As a CEO, you need to challenge this complacency by shaking up your sales process. Next, I’ll show you how to do just that.

2. Behavior: Create a “cookbook”

What would your salespeople say if you asked them, “What behaviors do you need to do every month to hit your quota?” I’d bet you 80% could not answer that question. They might say they need to “do 300 presentations” or “get 50 new customers” to hit a quota of $10 million. But those are lagging indicators, not behaviors.

This is why you need to develop a “cookbook” that spells out behaviors for salespeople. Like a recipe, the sales process is a science, with an added dash of art. You have to prescribe the steps involved, instead of counting on them to happen on their own.

The way to write the behavioral “recipes” for your cookbook is to reverse engineer your sales funnel. Sounds simple, but you need a sales process in order to complete it. You should conduct a reality check to validate your team follows a consistent sales process by asking everyone on the sales team to write down every step involved in securing a sale—from the time they identify a prospect to the time they have a happy customer—and look for commonalities.

When working on that second method, don’t be surprised if you see inconsistencies. Often, everyone on a team uses a different sales process. Take this as proof that you do, in fact, need to prescribe your preferred sales process. You can’t manage anything that you can’t control, so you need to control behaviors to manage your sales.

3. Technique: Use the KARE model

In sales, technique boils down to—what your salespeople say and how they say it. Your team needs to own their “talk tracks.” A talk track is made up of all the things a salesperson could potentially say to a customer. It usually includes an elevator pitch, a value proposition, a list of competitive advantages and answers to top-ten objectives.

Because COVID-19 has dramatically changed the world, every sales manager needs to reevaluate and rewrite their team’s talk track. What salespeople said to prospects two months ago is probably not relevant today. And what salespeople say to prospects today will probably not be relevant in another 60 to 90 days. In this evolving environment, sales managers must stay fluid when developing their talk track, while also building their team’s fluency in the language.

To customize talk tracks for specific audiences, I recommend using the KARE framework. KARE refers to four categories of customers:

  • KEEP: Existing customers you want to keep
  • ATTAIN: Prospective customers you want to do business with
  • RECAPTURE: Customers you have done business with in the past but have moved on
  • EXPAND: Existing customers that you would like to do more business with

By default, salespeople mostly focus on customers in the KEEP category because they are the easiest relationships to protect. However, this narrow focus will dry up your pipeline over time. To correct this imbalance, sales leaders need to provide salespeople with the right talk tracks to reach customers in the other categories—ATTAIN, RECAPTURE and EXPAND—and arm them with the products and services that address those customers’ specific pain points.

Additional sales tactics: Check these boxes

In addition to the steps outlined above, consider these tactics and strategies for accelerating sales during a recovery:

  • Pay attention to momentum. Observe the momentum in your industry and competitive landscape and revise your ideal client profile accordingly. Look for opportunities to address gaps that your competitors are neglecting to fill. Consider how you can serve new segments of customers who are facing new challenges due to the crisis.
  • Conduct Weekly Individual Meetings (WIMS). Every Monday morning, sales leaders should have a five-minute call with each salesperson, asking: “What are the top three things you’re going to achieve this week? How can I help you achieve them?” Then, on Friday, the sales leader should call back their team members for an update.
  • Create time blocks. Structure what your salespeople do during the day. This doesn’t mean micromanaging them; it means providing guardrails so they know what activities to focus on and for how long. This will help them work proactively instead of reactively.
  • Entice buyers with small opportunities. Instead of trying to sell someone a $3 million training engagement, offer them a $5,000 suite of coaching services. When you make a small sale first, it’s easier to form a relationship that leads to bigger sales down the line.
  • Use LinkedIn to your advantage. Send three to five emails each week via LinkedIn to a targeted list of prospective customers. Keep the emails short and sweet, limiting your copy to three to five sentences. Don’t talk about how great your company is. Talk about your customer’s problem and how you can help them solve it. Addressing someone’s frustration will capture their attention.
  • Ask your connections for introductions. Contact customers who love your company and ask them for introductions to prospective customers they’re connected with on LinkedIn. This will move you into the sales process more quickly. Even if you discover the prospect is not a good fit, you can still have a relevant conversation with them. That’s key to sales success.
  • Conduct pre-call and post-call checklists. A pre-call checklist covers the key points a salesperson must cover in a call with a prospect. It includes questions such as: What is the agenda? What do we hope to accomplish? What are the five to six questions we want to ask? A post-call checklist identifies the questions a salesperson must be able to answer when they finish a call. It includes questions such as: What are the customer’s pain points? Do we have viable solutions? Does the customer have the time, money and resources to work with us? Adopting this process will make your sales teams more self-sufficient.

Sales is the lifeblood of a business.

As CEO, your sales team drives revenue for your organization and provides the time and space needed for you to focus on strategic decision-making.

However, sales leaders aren’t necessarily equipped to pull through a crisis like the one we’re in now. In part, that’s because sales leaders are often the least-trained people in an organization, as they come to the role with little or no experience in management. In addition, the average sales manager has only five to seven years of tenure, which means the majority did not work in a managerial role through the 2008 financial downturn.

It may also be the case that as CEO of a small to midsize business, you are the person accountable for sales. Either way, it’s your responsibility to get your sales function ready for what’s next because it plays a critical role in your company’s recovery. Fortunately, salespeople are made, not born, so they tend to be fast learners. Here’s how to prepare them and, in the process, increase the efficiency of your entire sales operation.

The Success Triangle

To build a strong sales team, you need people who have the right attitude, practice the right behaviors and use the right techniques. These components make up what I call “The Success Triangle.” In the context of sales, attitude refers to how salespeople think about a sales scenario; behavior refers to when and how often salespeople engage in sales activities; and technique refers to how salespeople actually perform those activities.

When coaching a sales team, sales leaders tend to focus more on the techniques of selling than the attitudes or behaviors involved. But it’s important to emphasize all three areas. Consider what happens when any of these components is missing from a salesforce:

  • Behavior + Technique – Attitude = Salespeople go through the motions
  • Attitude + Technique – Behavior = Salespeople work frantically and sporadically
  • Attitude + Behavior – Technique = Salespeople work too hard

Let’s take a closer look at these three components and what you can do to make them stronger.

1. Attitude: Get out of your comfort zone

Attitude is about mindset. To get in the right mindset, you need to get out of your comfort zone. The reason: If you’re always working in your comfort zone, you’re only operating at 60 to 70% of your capacity.

Salespeople often fall into this trap once they’ve made enough money to pay their bills, or they’ve achieved a professional title they’re satisfied with. Unconsciously, they say to themselves: “Why would I stretch myself when I’m perfectly comfortable here?”

As a CEO, you need to challenge this complacency by shaking up your sales process. Next, I’ll show you how to do just that.

2. Behavior: Create a “cookbook”

What would your salespeople say if you asked them, “What behaviors do you need to do every month to hit your quota?” I’d bet you 80% could not answer that question. They might say they need to “do 300 presentations” or “get 50 new customers” to hit a quota of $10 million. But those are lagging indicators, not behaviors.

This is why you need to develop a “cookbook” that spells out behaviors for salespeople. Like a recipe, the sales process is a science, with an added dash of art. You have to prescribe the steps involved, instead of counting on them to happen on their own.

The way to write the behavioral “recipes” for your cookbook is to reverse engineer your sales funnel. Sounds simple, but you need a sales process in order to complete it. You should conduct a reality check to validate your team follows a consistent sales process by asking everyone on the sales team to write down every step involved in securing a sale—from the time they identify a prospect to the time they have a happy customer—and look for commonalities.

When working on that second method, don’t be surprised if you see inconsistencies. Often, everyone on a team uses a different sales process. Take this as proof that you do, in fact, need to prescribe your preferred sales process. You can’t manage anything that you can’t control, so you need to control behaviors to manage your sales.

3. Technique: Use the KARE model

In sales, technique boils down to—what your salespeople say and how they say it. Your team needs to own their “talk tracks.” A talk track is made up of all the things a salesperson could potentially say to a customer. It usually includes an elevator pitch, a value proposition, a list of competitive advantages and answers to top-ten objectives.

Because COVID-19 has dramatically changed the world, every sales manager needs to reevaluate and rewrite their team’s talk track. What salespeople said to prospects two months ago is probably not relevant today. And what salespeople say to prospects today will probably not be relevant in another 60 to 90 days. In this evolving environment, sales managers must stay fluid when developing their talk track, while also building their team’s fluency in the language.

To customize talk tracks for specific audiences, I recommend using the KARE framework. KARE refers to four categories of customers:

  • KEEP: Existing customers you want to keep
  • ATTAIN: Prospective customers you want to do business with
  • RECAPTURE: Customers you have done business with in the past but have moved on
  • EXPAND: Existing customers that you would like to do more business with

By default, salespeople mostly focus on customers in the KEEP category because they are the easiest relationships to protect. However, this narrow focus will dry up your pipeline over time. To correct this imbalance, sales leaders need to provide salespeople with the right talk tracks to reach customers in the other categories—ATTAIN, RECAPTURE and EXPAND—and arm them with the products and services that address those customers’ specific pain points.

Additional sales tactics: Check these boxes

In addition to the steps outlined above, consider these tactics and strategies for accelerating sales during a recovery:

  • Pay attention to momentum. Observe the momentum in your industry and competitive landscape and revise your ideal client profile accordingly. Look for opportunities to address gaps that your competitors are neglecting to fill. Consider how you can serve new segments of customers who are facing new challenges due to the crisis.
  • Conduct Weekly Individual Meetings (WIMS). Every Monday morning, sales leaders should have a five-minute call with each salesperson, asking: “What are the top three things you’re going to achieve this week? How can I help you achieve them?” Then, on Friday, the sales leader should call back their team members for an update.
  • Create time blocks. Structure what your salespeople do during the day. This doesn’t mean micromanaging them; it means providing guardrails so they know what activities to focus on and for how long. This will help them work proactively instead of reactively.
  • Entice buyers with small opportunities. Instead of trying to sell someone a $3 million training engagement, offer them a $5,000 suite of coaching services. When you make a small sale first, it’s easier to form a relationship that leads to bigger sales down the line.
  • Use LinkedIn to your advantage. Send three to five emails each week via LinkedIn to a targeted list of prospective customers. Keep the emails short and sweet, limiting your copy to three to five sentences. Don’t talk about how great your company is. Talk about your customer’s problem and how you can help them solve it. Addressing someone’s frustration will capture their attention.
  • Ask your connections for introductions. Contact customers who love your company and ask them for introductions to prospective customers they’re connected with on LinkedIn. This will move you into the sales process more quickly. Even if you discover the prospect is not a good fit, you can still have a relevant conversation with them. That’s key to sales success.
  • Conduct pre-call and post-call checklists. A pre-call checklist covers the key points a salesperson must cover in a call with a prospect. It includes questions such as: What is the agenda? What do we hope to accomplish? What are the five to six questions we want to ask? A post-call checklist identifies the questions a salesperson must be able to answer when they finish a call. It includes questions such as: What are the customer’s pain points? Do we have viable solutions? Does the customer have the time, money and resources to work with us? Adopting this process will make your sales teams more self-sufficient.

Sales is the lifeblood of a business.

As CEO, your sales team drives revenue for your organization and provides the time and space needed for you to focus on strategic decision-making.

However, sales leaders aren’t necessarily equipped to pull through a crisis like the one we’re in now. In part, that’s because sales leaders are often the least-trained people in an organization, as they come to the role with little or no experience in management. In addition, the average sales manager has only five to seven years of tenure, which means the majority did not work in a managerial role through the 2008 financial downturn.

It may also be the case that as CEO of a small to midsize business, you are the person accountable for sales. Either way, it’s your responsibility to get your sales function ready for what’s next because it plays a critical role in your company’s recovery. Fortunately, salespeople are made, not born, so they tend to be fast learners. Here’s how to prepare them and, in the process, increase the efficiency of your entire sales operation.

The Success Triangle

To build a strong sales team, you need people who have the right attitude, practice the right behaviors and use the right techniques. These components make up what I call “The Success Triangle.” In the context of sales, attitude refers to how salespeople think about a sales scenario; behavior refers to when and how often salespeople engage in sales activities; and technique refers to how salespeople actually perform those activities.

When coaching a sales team, sales leaders tend to focus more on the techniques of selling than the attitudes or behaviors involved. But it’s important to emphasize all three areas. Consider what happens when any of these components is missing from a salesforce:

  • Behavior + Technique – Attitude = Salespeople go through the motions
  • Attitude + Technique – Behavior = Salespeople work frantically and sporadically
  • Attitude + Behavior – Technique = Salespeople work too hard

Let’s take a closer look at these three components and what you can do to make them stronger.

1. Attitude: Get out of your comfort zone

Attitude is about mindset. To get in the right mindset, you need to get out of your comfort zone. The reason: If you’re always working in your comfort zone, you’re only operating at 60 to 70% of your capacity.

Salespeople often fall into this trap once they’ve made enough money to pay their bills, or they’ve achieved a professional title they’re satisfied with. Unconsciously, they say to themselves: “Why would I stretch myself when I’m perfectly comfortable here?”

As a CEO, you need to challenge this complacency by shaking up your sales process. Next, I’ll show you how to do just that.

2. Behavior: Create a “cookbook”

What would your salespeople say if you asked them, “What behaviors do you need to do every month to hit your quota?” I’d bet you 80% could not answer that question. They might say they need to “do 300 presentations” or “get 50 new customers” to hit a quota of $10 million. But those are lagging indicators, not behaviors.

This is why you need to develop a “cookbook” that spells out behaviors for salespeople. Like a recipe, the sales process is a science, with an added dash of art. You have to prescribe the steps involved, instead of counting on them to happen on their own.

The way to write the behavioral “recipes” for your cookbook is to reverse engineer your sales funnel. Sounds simple, but you need a sales process in order to complete it. You should conduct a reality check to validate your team follows a consistent sales process by asking everyone on the sales team to write down every step involved in securing a sale—from the time they identify a prospect to the time they have a happy customer—and look for commonalities.

When working on that second method, don’t be surprised if you see inconsistencies. Often, everyone on a team uses a different sales process. Take this as proof that you do, in fact, need to prescribe your preferred sales process. You can’t manage anything that you can’t control, so you need to control behaviors to manage your sales.

3. Technique: Use the KARE model

In sales, technique boils down to—what your salespeople say and how they say it. Your team needs to own their “talk tracks.” A talk track is made up of all the things a salesperson could potentially say to a customer. It usually includes an elevator pitch, a value proposition, a list of competitive advantages and answers to top-ten objectives.

Because COVID-19 has dramatically changed the world, every sales manager needs to reevaluate and rewrite their team’s talk track. What salespeople said to prospects two months ago is probably not relevant today. And what salespeople say to prospects today will probably not be relevant in another 60 to 90 days. In this evolving environment, sales managers must stay fluid when developing their talk track, while also building their team’s fluency in the language.

To customize talk tracks for specific audiences, I recommend using the KARE framework. KARE refers to four categories of customers:

  • KEEP: Existing customers you want to keep
  • ATTAIN: Prospective customers you want to do business with
  • RECAPTURE: Customers you have done business with in the past but have moved on
  • EXPAND: Existing customers that you would like to do more business with

By default, salespeople mostly focus on customers in the KEEP category because they are the easiest relationships to protect. However, this narrow focus will dry up your pipeline over time. To correct this imbalance, sales leaders need to provide salespeople with the right talk tracks to reach customers in the other categories—ATTAIN, RECAPTURE and EXPAND—and arm them with the products and services that address those customers’ specific pain points.

Additional sales tactics: Check these boxes

In addition to the steps outlined above, consider these tactics and strategies for accelerating sales during a recovery:

  • Pay attention to momentum. Observe the momentum in your industry and competitive landscape and revise your ideal client profile accordingly. Look for opportunities to address gaps that your competitors are neglecting to fill. Consider how you can serve new segments of customers who are facing new challenges due to the crisis.
  • Conduct Weekly Individual Meetings (WIMS). Every Monday morning, sales leaders should have a five-minute call with each salesperson, asking: “What are the top three things you’re going to achieve this week? How can I help you achieve them?” Then, on Friday, the sales leader should call back their team members for an update.
  • Create time blocks. Structure what your salespeople do during the day. This doesn’t mean micromanaging them; it means providing guardrails so they know what activities to focus on and for how long. This will help them work proactively instead of reactively.
  • Entice buyers with small opportunities. Instead of trying to sell someone a $3 million training engagement, offer them a $5,000 suite of coaching services. When you make a small sale first, it’s easier to form a relationship that leads to bigger sales down the line.
  • Use LinkedIn to your advantage. Send three to five emails each week via LinkedIn to a targeted list of prospective customers. Keep the emails short and sweet, limiting your copy to three to five sentences. Don’t talk about how great your company is. Talk about your customer’s problem and how you can help them solve it. Addressing someone’s frustration will capture their attention.
  • Ask your connections for introductions. Contact customers who love your company and ask them for introductions to prospective customers they’re connected with on LinkedIn. This will move you into the sales process more quickly. Even if you discover the prospect is not a good fit, you can still have a relevant conversation with them. That’s key to sales success.
  • Conduct pre-call and post-call checklists. A pre-call checklist covers the key points a salesperson must cover in a call with a prospect. It includes questions such as: What is the agenda? What do we hope to accomplish? What are the five to six questions we want to ask? A post-call checklist identifies the questions a salesperson must be able to answer when they finish a call. It includes questions such as: What are the customer’s pain points? Do we have viable solutions? Does the customer have the time, money and resources to work with us? Adopting this process will make your sales teams more self-sufficient.

Just like the 2008 financial downturn, this crisis shall pass. In the meantime, CEOs should put their energy toward building sales competencies in the organization that can survive and thrive—and get a head start on recovery.

10 Reasons To Join A CEO Peer Group From Forbes

Article by Henry DeVries

Growing your business is never easy. With apologies to Aristotle, Richard Franzi likes to say: “The whole effort of CEOs working together is more than the sum of those same CEOs working separately.”

I recently had breakfast with Franzi, author of Critical Mass: The 10 Explosive Powers of CEO Peer Groups. When Franzi could not find a book on the power of CEO peer groups, he decided to write one based on his experience as a member of one.

Franzi, a professional CEO peer group facilitator, says the idea for peer groups took off in the 1930s with the publication of the book Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. The book introduced the concept of master mind alliances. Business owner roundtables, executive forums and peer groups have been growing ever since.

Some of the most successful organizations offering this peer-to-peer learning include Vistage (formerly known as TEC, for The Executive Committee), Renaissance Executive Forums, Inner Circle, EO (Entrepreneurs Organization) and TAB (The Alternative Board). Typically, the groups meet monthly and contain 10 to 16 business owner members.

Personally, I have belonged to many CEO peer groups and have derived great benefit. Here are Franzi’s 10 reasons why a business owner or chief executive should join a CEO peer group:

1. Safe Haven

Confidentiality allows each member to be totally open about issues. It provides a safe environment where a CEO can work through topics that he or she is unable to discuss with others directly associated with their business.

2. Solid Reasoning

When a CEO peer group is working on a challenge for one of their members, having diverse perspectives can pay huge dividends for the quality of the discussion and the depth of the exploration undertaken.

3. Real Feedback

When a peer member asks for unfiltered feedback, he or she gets just that. Truth can be hard to swallow sometimes, but it is good for business leaders to have their ideas challenged sometimes.

4. Guidance

The CEO peer group allows the executive to create their own personal guidance system. This steering committee of seasoned pros can be helpful when charting a course through difficult waters.

5. Motivation

The element of accountability can be underestimated by members when they are new to a CEO peer group. Everyone, from time to time, can benefit from having a respected peer hold their feet to the fire.

6. Magnification

The power of a CEO peer group includes the ability to focus the collective awareness of many executives on one specific issue. The result is an intensity of thought capable of delivering much greater mental energy.

7. Illumination

An ever present challenge for CEOs is to continue to discover information previously not known to them. When a member receives new information from the group, it is as if a light goes on for them and they can see clearer.

8. Molecular

The power a CEO peer group creates in its members a new structure for gathering fresh insights The groups not only help solve problems, they help members grow as a leader and as a person.

9. Explosive

Most businesses, even successful ones, can develop organizational inertia that is hard to overcome. A CEO peer group can give members “escape velocity” to free them from earth bound issues (at least for half a day each month).

10. Insurance

The majority of new businesses fail. By sharing in the wisdom of others, the CEO can increase the chance of the firm to survive and thrive. By taking this one simple act, CEOs begin to turn the odds in their favor.

“Most executives who join a CEO peer group stay in the program,” says Franzi, who estimates the renewal rate to be 80%. “The reason they remain are as varied as the individual members. But the power of the process is undeniable.”