How would you run a CEO roundtable?
I've been asked to run a CEO roundtable and curious what others would recommend for the format. I ran one session so far where I just asked for feedback. Some people recommended doing short introductions along with a current need or challenge and then breaking up into networking so people can have separate conversations. Others recommended having one or a few people pose a current issue and the entire group discuss it. Has anyone had any experience with these groups and what have you seen produce the most value? Thanks for your thoughts.
It's been 2 years since this post. I was wondering if the roundtable is still going on. If it is, how's it going? If not, what happened?
I'm thinking about starting one myself and would love your insight.
What's the objective of this CEO roundtable?
Is it to help your organization develop an in-depth understanding of market conditions while building a strong bond of trust and loyalty with key client executives (CEOs) that will lead to increased opportunities?
Identify a moderator
• Design the CEO roundtable session to address the challenges, identify future plans/ solutions
• Guide the participant selection process
• Produce an effective agenda and discussion topics when you invite your participants
• Act as an extension to your staff during the entire CEO roundtable preparation process
• Carry out customer interviews and pre-meeting customer surveys to finalize the challenges that you will discuss
• Help the meeting to achieve success
• Produce a "Plan or Record" report to document the meeting, including action items and possible schedule the follow-up roundtable conference
Generally these types of forums are built around an issues or industry focus. That should be your foundation. Why these people / Why Now / Why Listen are all questions that you can use to build a framework.
Either this group of Executives have come together for a common reason or association as well as the audience has assembled because there is some common reason or interest in hearing what these people have to say.
I would start with a theme or issue for the roundtable that ties into the 3 questions above. Most Executives I know want/need to have a clear understanding of what they will be asked to address or speak to during the roundtable beyond just being Executives. Market issues, Competition or shift in the Competitive Landscape, Changes in Regulations, New Market Opportunities, Talent (Attraction, Acquisition, Development, Retention, Re-assignment), Etc. all make for a solid foundation.
Don’t go too wide, but look for depth. You could begin with a foundation questions you would like teach panelist to address in an opening statement then open it up for questions from the audience (or even challenges within the panel). Have several other questions in the event the discussion dies. More likely your problem will be to stay on track and focused vs. chasing rabbits down a hole.
Just some core thoughts. Let me know if you would like to discuss this deeper.
Remember that everyone there has their own agendas. If possible find out what the participants would like to see in the session and take that into account.
8 to 12 executives from different verticals or industries so there is no compassion amongst the members. This ensure discussion and frank answers to problems and questions.
One year contract.
Meet one day for 4 hours once a month. I host the first event, then the members host the remaining 11 however/wherever they wish.
Structured content for the first 2 hours or so, then open discussion for the remaining 2. The first session includes goal setting and then during the remaining sessions we monitor the results and progress.
Depends on what you are trying to achieve. I have run many CEO Roundtables and my intention is that they exchange useful information and have a lively valuable discussion. Thus I limit the number to around 12-14 (any more and it is difficult for the group to have a discussion and hear each other). If you want more than you need to break up into smaller groups, where you lose control of moderating the conversation. My Roundtables are either industry focused (everyone from the same industry), have an invited guest that people want to hear from, outcome oriented (bring an impossible problem and we will solve it that night), or subject oriented (impact of ACA on companies).
For the industry focussed I have everyone introduce themselves as: Name, Company, brief outline of what company does, what would you like the group to talk about tonight (NOT what are you worried about, keeps you up at night - too personal for a group that doesn't know each other yet). Then I say something like "It sounds like a number of people would like to talk about X. Who would like to comment?" And then I get out of the way. I have found that CEOs with common interests (industry, problem, etc.) have no difficulty discussing. I moderate with a light touch (making sure people don't interrupt or talk over each other, make sure everyone gets a chance to talk, and moving the conversation on if it bogs down).
With a presenter, I avoid a formal presentation (which supresses discussion), but rather may ask for a 5-min summary of their wisdom and then (unless a CEO wants to) I ask a question and get the discussion going.
WIth a larger group, I may pose a question (either one of known common interest or from the introductions) and then ask them to break up into groups of 5-6. However, such groupings tend to have a life of 20-30 min max before something needs to change (the question or the groupings).
If you have more questions, feel free to ask: Ivan Rosenberg, email@example.com.
I use short meetings, covering action, control activities.
In case of exploration of new issues I use:
brainwriting, then NGT, then ISM, etc.
Mary-Alice I do run a mastermind and have several thoughts. In my group we allocate a set portion of time to each participant (I will not exceed 8-10 in a group). In their time slot the individual can present a challenge or a win, their choice. The group then serves as a mini Board of Directors discussing resolution, opportunity and the like as the topic dictates.
Either one is appropriate from my experience, however, depending on the personalities and the communicating styles you may wish to identify who a common ground to promote trust and then move on to similar groups...I would go from the Broad topic to the specifics and get a sense of who is strongest and try to have them communicate honestly without believing any trade secrets are at risk...
Have it set up as a Mastermind Group. Make it a Collaborative Space and not a Competitive Space. At the end of every session, you will want to ask the group to think of the next topic for Discussion, this way you have a direction with the meeting rather than just an open free for all. You will also be able to keep it focused on what people want to hear which will allow for a Higher retention of those individuals as well as create momentum. People will then talk about the forum and invite others to join which just enhances the Networking/Resources opportunity. Hope this helps.