Leadership Competencies

Why Drive Without a Seatbelt?

As the CEO of Vistage I was surrounded by a community willing and able to give me feedback, guidance and the benefit of their own experience. I felt confident that I would not miss a step nor lack insight and knowledge to make the judgment calls I needed to make each and every day. My leadership team, my Board, our Chair community, Vistage alumni and others were all available and freely offered advice and perspective. So I was totally blindsided by just how alone I really felt when it came to decisions. Seatbelt

The advice I was getting was, by definition, subjective. Even if all that guidance was shared by someone far more experienced than me and was driven by altruistic motivations – it was biased and often tied to an agenda (even a well-intentioned one). Furthermore, it did nothing to develop and broaden my critical thinking or give me the tools I needed to gain confidence in my own decision making process.

The irony – given my role at the leading peer-advisory organization – was not lost on me. I am quite literally surrounded by the best that Vistage has to offer, and despite that I still needed to surround myself with a group of CEOs who would share the wisdom of their own experience, offer impartial advice driven only by the desire to help me reach a better decision. As a member recently told me “it’s not where I go to get my questions answered, it’s where I go to get my answers questioned.” That really resonated with me and only reinforces my decision to join a Vistage group. It has been a truly remarkable gift – an experience I prioritize over almost anything else. For me running a business without the support of a group of peers is like driving a car without wearing a seatbelt. While that may have been true 25 years ago, why would you ever take that risk today?

Category: Leadership Competencies


Leon Shapiro About the Author: Leon Shapiro

Leon was named CEO of Vistage effective March 31, 2013. He is also a Director at The Advisory Board Company (NASDAQ: ABCO) and eTouches Inc. Between 2007 and 2011, Leon served as Senior Vice President, Strategy and Operations, at Warner Musi…

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