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Executive Roundtables

Kathy Fediw

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Does anyone have experience developing executive roundtable groups for their clients? Not mastermind groups for other speakers or roundtables at conferences, but groups for executive-level clients that meet monthly or quarterly which you develop and facilitate. How did you get a group started? What other services do you offer exclusively to members of the group? How do you calculate fees for members and do you charge annually or per meeting? Do you invite outside speakers/consultants to speak to the group? What other tips do you have in offering this service?

-- Note from Kathy Fediw:

In addition to the responses below, one of my clients who is currently in a roundtable shared this with me:

His roundtable meets three times a year and has companies throughout the US as members. All of the businesses are in the same industry but are not competitors due to their location. In order to join, you need to have at least $1 million in annual revenue and not be in competition with another member. The preferred number of members is 14 businesses although they are currently meeting with 9 business members. A business can send as many people as they want, although mostly it's husband-and-wife owners who come to the meetings. The cost runs about $4,000 a year to participate and the meetings are facilitated by an outside consultant.

-- Charlie Hawkins

The most successful model for executive round tables is probably Vistage International, formerly TEC (The Executive Committee). Their model consists of a group of peers (CEOs, business owners or presidents of companies $2MM+ revenue, 20+ employees) who meet monthly. The group is facilitated by a chair, who is often an ex-CEO or business owner, and who is trained in facilitation and coaching skills. The chair also meets monthly with each member in a two-hour one-to-one coaching session. Members in the group do not compete with each other, nor do they do significant business with one another. There is high trust and confidentiality in such groups, as each member acts as the others' advisor to discuss significant issues. Each member pays around $1000 a month to belong, and the chair gets paid on a sliding scale, based on the number of members.

Approximately 8 times a year, resource speakers are invited to attend the day-long meeting, and present a 3-hour workshop. Members also have access to a web site that provides business articles, networking opportunities, etc. Vistage groups are in every state, and that could be an avenue for you to explore. At the very least, they would be competition for you, if there are groups active in your market.

About 3 years ago, I became a TEC (now Vistage) chair, with a group of 5 that I took over. It has grown to 11 members, with a goal of 14-15. I have also started another group. It has been a great experience, and has allowed me to cut down on travel, such that I go out of town only when and where I want to go.

If you want to set up a similar group, I would suggest you target a different level, such as execs at the VP level. The public web site may also be worth exploring.

-- Fern Reiss

I run an executive roundtable (called the Expertizing Circle for senior executives and CEOs who are looking for better media attention for their business and better branding. Occasionally we include directors of nonprofit organizations. It's a virtual group that meets via telephone conference call/teleseminar and an Internet forum and emails. It's limited to ten attendees. I charge $2500 for an 18-week membership, of which half the weeks are taped/packaged audio, and the other half are (one hour) live telephone roundtable discussions. (I also offer an advanced version which is for alumni who have taken it before, which is the same set-up but without the canned audio.)

The Expertizing Circle grew out of my pre-existing all-day workshops because there was more demand for the live workshops than I could accommodate as well as to accommodate busy executives who'd prefer their content in one-hour chunks rather than the loss of a full day of work. It's priced at the same price point because it's the same number of hours of my time (9, though spread over a period of 18 weeks rather than clumped into one day) and we supply the same collateral material (the complete Expertizing toolkit, planner, CDs, and books.) We save on hotel expenses because of the virtual format, but we spend a little more on mailing materials, so it ends up approximately even. I don't include outside speakers.

-- Richard Magid

SoundBoard has been creating and facilitating CEO roundtables for the last ten years as part of our program to help business owners become more effective business leaders. The roundtables are one way that we help them fill in the gaps in their knowledge base. Right now we have seven forums that meet monthly for about 3 hours in a very structured format that includes:

  • a 30-day "catch up" -- best and worst of last 30 days (any significant events);
  • capturing of current issues and challenges;
  • period of collaboration on 2 to 3 issues and
  • sharing of best practices on different topics.

These roundtables are supplemented with a very customized one on one coaching relationship and monthly proprietary educational workshops. From time to time we do bring in outside speakers on topics that are outside the knowledge base of our team.

Our annual fees range from $4,000 to $10,000 depending on the mix of deliverables. We also provide facilitation and coaching services on an hourly and project basis.

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