You may have been at the helm of a business (or several) for what feels like a lifetime. But think back to when you first started out in your career. You might have been young and inexperienced, venturing into these choppy waters with an open mind, ready to embrace new challenges and learn the ropes.
You won’t have stopped learning at any point in your career. This commitment to lifelong growth will have played a vital role in making you the business leader you are today.
In short, you've got a lot of useful knowledge and experience under your belt. But what do you plan to do with that knowledge and experience when you decide to retire, sell your business, take a role as chairman or non-executive director or make the move into consultancy?
More experience than you may think…
It’s surprising how much of our “experience” we take for granted. We can all reel off the ‘hard’ skills we’ve developed over the years: introducing new systems or processes, learning the basics of accounting, managing an organisational structure.
But your ‘soft’ skills are invaluable to your business, too. They’re the more intuitive, more human challenges that come with leading a company.
That desire to help others to progress, honing your decision-making skills, working with a diverse team, the ability to give great advice: these are all attributes that you’ll have worked on over the years to get you to where they are today. And they’re all things with which the next generation of business leaders may struggle. They’ll often be looking for advice and ideas, but they’re unsure where to look.
Where does support for new business leaders come from?
In an interview in 2018, Vistage speaker, Emma Stroud, admitted that “when you’re in leadership, it’s really important that you meet other people like you in the same position because it can be lonely”. Take on a CEO role and there will be the assumption that you’re confident in your ability to do the job - but research reveals that 68% of CEOs feel they weren’t fully prepared for the role.
It may be hard for business leaders – whether they’re new or have been at the helm for some time – to admit that they need external support. They might even consider this need a weakness. It’s important to remember, though, that every new CEO will face the same (or similar) challenges: building the trust of their team, managing their work-life balance, dealing with HR issues, finding and retaining talent, navigating change or uncertain political or economic landscapes – the list goes on.
These challenges appear in all manner of sectors and in companies of all sizes. So, there must be numerous, more experienced, business leaders out there who have weathered the same storms. In our eyes, there’s no better way to learn how to deal with the myriad challenges of running a business than to be able to speak with someone who’s been there, done that, and come out the other side with a successful company.
That’s where you come in.
Ever considered becoming a Vistage chair?
Our Vistage chairs all have one thing in common, They may have stepped down from business leadership, but that desire to learn and to help others to do the same hasn’t disappeared. They all have the same drive to give back - to share their experiences (both the highs and the lows) to help to shape the next generation of business leaders.
Apart from that, they’re an incredibly varied bunch of people – coming from all walks of life, with careers in various sectors, and with a range of fantastic experience.
Their role, in short, is to lead a group of 12-16 Vistage members: business leaders who meet once a month to evaluate opportunities, solve problems, and take advantage of a private and supportive environment to talk openly about all sorts of strategic and operational issues. There’s also one-to-one mentoring involved – meaning you’ll have multiple opportunities to help these business leaders to shine. Through the mentoring and guidance of our Vistage chairs, we’ve seen some amazing success stories amongst our members - and we’re always looking for inspiring and passionate business leaders to keep those success stories flowing.
Once you step down from your leadership role, your experience and leadership mentality doesn’t need to step down with you. Looking to share your knowledge and experience? Want to build the next generation of successful business leaders? Step into your new role as a Vistage Chair.
Sound like your dream role? Click here to learn more about what being a Vistage Chair involves - and how you can fit it around your day-to-day life.