Updated: Nov 1, 2021
I have been a Vistage Chair here in Utah since 2010 and it has been a great experience for me individually, for my Vistage members, and our Vistage community. My personal goal on becoming a Chair was to help my members 3x an important goal in their businesses or personal lives, and a good number of my Vistage members have tripled sales while in my Vistage groups. Some members have sold businesses for large sums, but most have bought new businesses or started new businesses while in my groups and they continue to build and grow these same businesses today. Members also get accountability and discipline in Vistage that they likely receive nowhere else; I have often said as a Chair, "its not a good Vistage meeting until someone gets fired," -- and this may sound rough, however many times it means holding member executives accountable for actions they know should be taken; Vistage helps them take action, be deliberate, and get better results. And most times, their employees say afterwards, 'wow, what took you so long!" Simply put, Vistage works!
Over the past five years I have had the good fortune to launch three Vistage peer executive groups (2 CE groups and 1 Key group), mentor other Vistage Chairs who have launched peer groups, and I have helped Vistage grow a footprint in Utah from a handful of members in 2010 to over 100 members in 2015.
For me and my Chair peers, the rewards of being a Vistage Chair are mostly intrinsic not financial; as a Vistage Chair, you feel extremely good about helping others achieve their goals; on a good day, a Chair can ask a thought provoking question of a member, that strikes at the inner person, setting off great ideas and member action; indeed, daily, weekly, monthly, Chairs make impactful differences in the lives of those they coach; and the results, members lives improved, with their businesses growing are a few of the simple pleasures of the teacher, mentor, and coach -- that thing we call being a Vistage Chair.
From time to time, people ask me, 'why are you a chair?', or 'would'nt you make more money going it alone?' 'Why do you choose to be a Vistage Chair? The answer for me is simple: I much enjoy the Vistage association with my network of Chair peers, and the camaraderie of the members in my groups. This past year I have started speaking to Vistage groups around the US and Canada and I feel the same great energy, sharing, and caring in those groups as well. In my view, when you have learned to fish, it is wonderful and rewarding to teach others to fish as well.
On background, I was a Vistage (TEC) member from 1999-2004 and had a great experience in my Peer Group reshaping, tearing-down, building, and growing my company into an industry leader. I had a great Chair, Clyde Northrup, TEC 554, who challenged my thinking, asked great questions, and facilitated a great Vistage group of peers whom I quickly called my friends. Prior to Vistage I had gone it alone for 7 years reading books, attending seminars, and asking many questions of business leaders. Then one day, I decided it was time for 'adult supervision' and I started looking for a coach, and I found Vistage -- that provided both a coach and peer group of executives. It was a great experience.
I learned about delegation, contracts, strategic planning, hiring slow, firing fast, and how to hire top talent, how to value companies and creating transferable value, how and why to create standard operating procedures, how to deal with difficult people, how to grow and manage the sales function, marketing, and many more topics. It was a regular monthly one-day bootcamp on some business topic where I learned my next merit badge of executive leadership. Life was not necessarily easier being in Vistage, however I had much more advice and counsel from my group members and coach, and I feel that I made better decisions. I sold my company in 2005 for 3x the prevailing rate for companies in my industry, and I attribute 2/3rds of the value increase to my Vistage experience.
Thereafter, I was invited to be a Vistage Chair first in 2007; the timing was not good for me then. Later in 2010 I revisited the opportunity with Vistage, and was invited to Chair Vistage groups in Utah. It has been a challenging and fun ride, helping people, exploring and growing new business models, and I look forward to being affiliated with Vistage for many years to come.