Tina Corner is the founder of LXCouncil, a peer group organization. She’s growing groups locally and shared some insight on how peer groups can spur a company’s growth.
Tell us a little about LXCouncil. What is it and how did you start company? Also, how did you come up with the name?
LXCouncil stands for Leader Exchange Council. The name supports the concept around a group of leaders exchanging insights and council among trusted peers. The abbreviated letters “LX” allows for co-branding with our strategic alliance partners and niche groups. For example: LX HR Council or LX CEO Council or LX FNB Council.
I started the company after selling my peer-group franchise because I was limited in territory growth and the ability to adapt to the marketplace. Most presidents do not know of this resource and getting the message out is my motivation so I wrote the first book on the power of a peer group and created a forward-looking business model based on what the CEO market was asking for.
Why are peer CEO groups important? Why is yours important?
What a timely question: To quote exactly what an entire group of my members said today after their monthly meeting together, “The value of having a place to be vulnerable, not be judged, get candid feedback and practical CEO advice while being reminded of what you are supposed to do as a CEO exists nowhere else – nowhere.” This was after half the group voiced deep fears on how to handle success and growth.
Particularly at LXCouncil we focus solely on the core offering of the meeting format that combines leader development exposing what they don’t know they don’t know, proactive approaches to creating focus and clarity all facilitated by a local, talented and trained moderator. We also have strategic alliance partners who add value through making available their expertise and knowledge in subjects relevant to presidents.
Describe for a us a typical meeting.
Picture 10-11 diverse gender and industry presidents (some have equity some do not) around a boardroom table. The meeting comprises of three foundations existing of accountability, sharing of successes and achievements, planned discussion and learning on a particular business concept, and giving insight, support and council to those members who have what we call a COPI (challenge, opportunity, problem or idea) they desire help on. At the end of the meeting, a member will be energized, have clarity, and ideas/solutions to tactical and strategic questions.
What does a typical schedule for members look like?
Once a month for four hours.
What are some of the challenges that you face in recruiting CEOs for peer groups?
The unknown of what a peer group really is and who is in the group. You don’t know until you experience it and you can’t experience until you try it. We don’t let anyone “kick the tires” due to confidentiality but what we do is give a 100 percent guarantee. One of which I have never had to execute. But it is there for comfort for a new member. It’s also why I wrote the book, which is free to anyone who wants to find out the what, why and how of peer groups.
What are the average annual costs for a peer group attendee for LXCouncil and how does that cost compare to the competition?
The monthly cost is $550 and is considerably less (more than half) than my competitors for two reasons: 1) we structure our meetings to half a day because most CEOs do not want to be out of the office a full day and 2) we do not do coaching with our members. Coaching is a special skill and for a special reason. If our members want it, they can request it but of nearly 100 members, we have one who does that today. LXCouncil is structured to provide an efficient meeting agenda that results in a price point that any business owner can afford.
Your group encourages participation from both men and women. Why is that diversity important?
The business world is not segregated by gender so understanding how each can contribute to better leadership provides competitive insights. It’s why diversity is such a hot topic in the corporate boardroom. It’s a liability if you don’t have it. The way each thinks is different and can lend perspectives that would be missed otherwise. All my male members request women in their group because they value their approach to leadership and business.
Describe for us a typical make-up of a peer group and how you decide who should be a part of the group.
First, our groups are becoming even more niche and specialized. The discovery process we go through with each potential member is designed to match them with the other members who are about to go where that member’s journey has taken them and where those members will be able to add insight into the journey that member is about to go on. It’s about matching past experiences with future experiences, diversity in structure, financial models yet commonality in each as well. When this is done effectively, common understanding is matched with diversity in thought. This leads to breakthroughs in problem solving and creating the best decisions, not just good ones.