Make entrepreneurs achieve better results. That’s the watchword of Vistage, a global executive organizational coaching and consulting firm designed for CEOs, business owners and business leaders. It is an organization with more than 30 thousand members in 26 countries; in Uruguay it has been present since 2018.
Alejandro Laborde, director of Vistage, assured that in our country they have 230 members divided into 23 groups of more or less 10 people each in which the model to follow, as their line marks, is the purpose of helping the “numbers one of companies, CEOs, owners and those who occupy the highest decision-making levels” of a firm to make better decisions to improve their quality of life. “And thus, by transition, positively impact the quality of life of their families, collaborators and the environments in which each one is immersed,” he pointed out.
He explained that membership does not take into account the size of the company or the seniority of that executive in office. “Precisely, the richness of peer groups is the diversity of profiles. That a number one has a key dilemma ahead of it and can nurture 10 to 12 different views that come from executives from various industries and of various sizes, ”he explained. For this reason, in meetings, a corporation can receive advice from an SME and an SME can benefit from the advice of someone with more experience.
Vistage works with the methodology of collaboration between peers in groups of between 12 and 16 executives, leaders who are not competitors, so that they can collaborate freely, benefiting from the points of view and learning of each one. The groups are coordinated by experienced people (Chair, in the jargon of this firm) who help carry out the meeting and who also meet monthly individually with each member of the group.
“It must be a group in which there is no conflict of interest. That competitors from the same industry that fight for the same market do not come together, nor that there are strong relationships between client and supplier. So that there are no limitations when presenting, telling or asking for advice”, Laborde clarified.
Executive coaching at Vistage provides for a monthly meeting and an individual meeting to discuss the challenges of the members of each group. The group coordinator or Chair functions as a guide and is the one who offers his experience and guidance.
“The groups meet once a month, for a whole day, and each member also meets in an individual session with the Chair of their group. Thus, if you are a Vistage member, you have two meetings a month: one with your entire group and one ‘hand in hand’ with your Chair. The Chair is typically a former number one, a former consultant, in his 60s or so, who is no longer in the line of work and his role is to pour his experience out onto the members of the group; a figure who is 100% facilitator of the meeting, who does not give answers, but rather helps the group meeting to flow and the methodology to work”, added the director of Vistage.
The other function of the Chair is to keep track of the members of your group. “It’s a mixed conversation of coaching, mentoring and tutoring, a little bit of everything,” said Laborde, stressing the importance of delving into personal issues and helping them encourage them to bring them to the group, discussing them as key challenges or issues. strategic.
“Instead of being an approach with a consultant, ours is multifactorial or multidimensional; The big difference is that if you are in the technology field, your problem is being looked at by someone from the world of agriculture, advertising, labor relations or industry, and it makes you think outside your field,” he continued. “The advantage is that your company or your problem is seen by people who suffer from a problem similar to yours but with a different perspective or way of dealing with it.”
In addition, a “super important” component is proposed, which is “accountability”, fulfilling one’s duties. In this sense, the director described that they wonder “what did you do with such a thing” and there is follow-up of the themes. “It’s like the running groups, the ones that always make you keep up. In peer groups, this is very important, it is an added value”, emphasized Laborde.
“Brought to the business world is to repeat practices that serve in other dimensions. And have conversations without cassette. Get out of the politically correct, encouraging people to say harsh things without anything happening. How to tell someone who is making bad decisions. Not everyone tells you that. Stick with affection, with trust and fraternity. It is not very normal in the Uruguayan market”, he concluded.
types of problems
The challenges that entrepreneurs pose usually point to questions about how to be a better leader, a better entrepreneur and a better person. Laborde indicated that the topics are “very diverse”, as are the people who approach them, but some conclusions can be drawn about which are the most recurrent problems.
In the first place, how to make the company grow with all its implications: in an orderly way, with a work culture, without losing the values and essence of the company. “It’s one of the big dilemmas,” said the Vistage head.
“Another thing that is usually on the table is how do I retain good talent, to generate a company culture, to conceive high-performance teams, a collaborative environment, so that people want to work with me,” he added.
There is also the back and forth about family businesses, and how to continue with the legacy of the father, grandfather or great-grandfather. “The continuity to carry out an orderly transition and look for a successor when there is no one in the family who wants to take over the position, when the children have other profiles, and a good successor cannot be found. It is another of the dilemmas that are handled”, mentioned Laborde. “And one last one: how do I prepare my company to be sold in the market and make it attractive; or how I organize it to have a more professional structure”.
After two years, Vistage once again organizes its great annual event in which it brings together its community, guests and business leaders. The “Vistage Conecta 2022, the power of exchange” will take place this Tuesday 31 from 6:30 p.m. on the terrace of the Carrasco International Airport, and will have as guest speakers the former Argentine president, Mauricio Macri, and the director of TED, Gerry Garbulsky.
He recalled that the first of these events in the country, in 2018, had Conor Neill, professor at IESE Business School, as a guest; In the second edition, in 2019, the speakers were Diego Forlán and the physical trainer Santiago Alfaro. In 2020 and 2021 there were no meetings due to the covid-19 pandemic.
This year “Garbulsky, director of TED, is coming and he has a podcast called Learning from Greats, highly recommended, in which he talks about the fact that we are unfinished people, that there are no entrepreneurs who know everything and about the importance of continuing learning all life. That will be the focus of his talk,” Laborde stated.
Meanwhile, Macri does not come “in the role of politician”, but as a businessman and leader of a club -Boca Juniors- and of a government, both of a city and a country. “How he made decisions, who he surrounded himself with, with whom he shared the most intimate problems, how he put together his work teams, what it was like to deal with egos, what it is like to be the son of…”, Laborde summed up some of the issues that the show will address. former president of the neighboring shore in his passage through Uruguay at the hands of Vistage.