Most of the clients I have worked with over the years founded their businesses; same is true for the members of my Vistage CEO group. These folks often join Vistage because they want to grow and build a professionally managed business. They are grateful and loyal to the folks that helped them get started. And, sometimes these two objectives are at odds.

The CEO knows in his head that change won’t happen without changing some key players. (After all, if the folks that are there were going to get you where you wanted to be, you would be there already). And, in his heart he is torn.

As humans, when confronted with substantial change, particularly within a structure, the mind tends to go immediately to “what am I going to lose?” Often there is much to gain, occasionally something to lose, but this is our mind at work, much less than the process at work. The question becomes, how do we overcome these fears and realize that forward progress only comes with transformation?

Here are some questions to consider, as you think about your own evolution:

  • Owner: Am I in the right role in the organization? Am I best suited to be the investor, the operator, or both?
  • Owner: The age old question, are the right people in the right seats on the bus to get to the destination I want?
  • Owner or Key Executive: Am I spending most of my time do the things that are in my genius?
  • Owner or Key Executive: Am I performing at the same level (or higher) today as I was when I began? If not, what change could I make so that I am?
  • Owner or Key Executive: Am I making decisions out of loyalty rather than what is best for the organization? If so, what is the cost? And what really is loyalty?… Are we doing someone (or ourselves) a favor keeping them (staying) in a role that we are not excellent at? How might the organization (or I) benefit by moving on if I am not performing?

Why Vistage Works

Elisa K. Spain



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