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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.

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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.

Much Success

Thanks Scott. We decided to choose a topic or two via email prior to the next event. People will email me a current challenge or topic to discuss and I will pick one or two for us to tackle at the next session. I agree that having something planned out will keep people engaged. Thanks again.


Those are definitely some good starting points. It would be great to get a top 3 priority list ahead of time from each participant so you can get a good sense of top line issues and how to set your agenda ahead of the first meeting. For instance, you might have each breakout group work on one of the top issues.

Ugh, I should have asked this question yesterday. The event is in 2 hours and I so wish I sent out an email asking for top 3 priorities. Great suggestion. I'll send out an email now and have people at least be prepared to talk about them. Thanks.


If your running a weekly or bi-weekly CEO meeting it is important to have one or two heads who will lead the conversations and discuss all the underlying issues with the rest of the group. It is not as important to be sure everyone is happy coming out of the meeting as it is to be sure Problems have been Addressed and Solutions have been provided.

We ended up discussing this last night and I agree that's it's important to have one or two people guiding the discussion and making sure people are getting the right help. Thanks.


Having specific items to discuss is a start. Always hold your roundtable's the same time same day of the week and have them always last a certain amount of time and do not go over that the time allowed.
Set a time line for discussions.
Keep the discussions on point. Don't let them venture on to other areas of interest.


It sounds like you want to run a mastermind group. You could do what you mentioned in your original post. You could do a Q and A session with each member or have one person on the hotseat each month discussing current challenges they have and getting feedback from the group.

I like the Q&A idea. We did discuss having one or two people present their current challenge/topic and rotating each time. That seemed to be the most popular approach. Thanks for your thoughts.

Anonymous User

Hello Mary-Alice,

It sounds like you have stumbled upon an excellent gig. Enjoy!

These are a few points here which I hope you find useful. (The product of several decades working with senior peeps who are time-poor, successful, ambitious and spend most of their time paranoid that they are doing the right thing leading their organisations.

What I would start with is define the Purpose of the group. Why has it been formed? What would make it fabulously successful? Where do you see it in (say) 2 to 3 years.
By doing so you will clarify the reason why it exists. This will lead you effortlessly into the second set of questions...**

What would you and the participants like the outcomes to be? When each meeting has finished how would you define if it had been successful?
I would suspect that the outcomes will be the following:

The participants table their challenges and have great minds help them think through what they would do if they were in the 'challenger holder's shoes'

They find creative and proven ways to take both themselves and their organisations forward

They form strong friendships with their fellow participants

They spread the word to bring other participants to the table


So Mary-Alice this would bring you to the Processes you can deploy to make it all happen. For me it is repeatable combination looking something like this.

What's on people's minds - post on a flipchart as people arrive their top 1,2 or 3 challenges

Informal round table discussion - what's going on in people's lives

Guest speaker - a genuine expert on a subject that everyone can relate to

Peer Review - a structured problem solving process where one person tables their challenge and each colleague acts as a consultant.
In the late 90s I pioneered a process in Rolls-Royce called the 'Peer Review' - it is the BEST 'change tool' I have ever invented. Now 15 years on Peer Reviews are standard practice in this iconic business employing over 33,000 people.

For you Mary-Alice and indeed all other visitors to this thread I would be more than happy to share the process. It is spectacularly simple but always delivers. For example the last time I used in Rolls-Royce it solved a problem in 4.5 hours that has eluded their best minds for 6 months!

Happy to share with you or anyone interested.

Please e-mail : simon @ bozeatconsulting.co.uk

Post 'Peer Review Mosaic' in the subject bar

I look forward to hearing from you




Conceptually it follows how I would have approached this--having worked with CEOs but not in a "Roundtable format". What I would ask is how do you see/saw, for example, your role at Rolls Royce?

Thanks again,


Awesome feedback Simon. I really appreciate you taking the time to respond. Defining the purpose and desired outcome is definitely an important first step. I think we accomplished that last night and we all agreed that the Peer Review process would work best. Thanks for your advice.


What are the goals? what are the resources? what are your ways to evaluate success?
these questions will help you decide you way.

have success

Those are great questions. Frankly, I was asked to help and haven't spent enough time thinking through these. You're right that I should spent more time on this and speak with the organizers. I know that one of their goals is to foster a supportive community where founders/CEOs have a place to get support. Thanks for helping me think through this more.


It sounds like you're looking to run a mastermind group. There are quite a few resources online for this. I run mastermind groups for SME's and have found great results when using a proven framework to facilitate the meetings.
1. What facilitation skills do you currently possess?
2. If you were one of the CEO's participating what would be the ideal outcome of a session for you?
3. What has worked/not worked for you in the past when participating in similar meetings?

Good luck white elephant hunting;-)


Thanks for the helpful feedback.

Congrats on the first meeting! What were the follow up actions? How will you measure success? How will you celebrate? Keep us posted;-)


Suggest you be aware of group dynamics...especially as your group contains powerful people. Strong personalities, guys out to prove a point, gain attention etc could and would smother the outcome. Try to level the playing field with equal opportunities, which negates the bullies rising to power within your group


I am giving a presentation with a panel tonight and the moderator asked for five questions from each of us.

The panel is so much better organized that way. Organization is a major part to success. Don't lose your audience. Remember you can have prepared questions and answers from the audience before hand. Sadly there are dumb questions.

Very good point on staying organized. We decided to have people email challenges/topics to me in advanced and I would pick ones to discuss. Hopefully that will be a good way to keep the conversation of high quality and to make sure people are prepared. Thanks for your thoughts. Hope your presentation went well last night!

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