CEOs Need Outside Advisors

One of the biggest advantages of membership in a CEO peer group, like Vistage International, is the opportunity to discover what you don’t know that you don’t know. The consequence of not knowing is that you can make some big mistakes. How do you know if you are on the right track?

In the October Issue of the New York Enterprise Report, Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, Robert Levin, asked Kevin Ryan, the founder of AlleyCorp, the Gilt Groupe, and the former CEO of DoubleClick the following question:

RL: What advice would you give to business owners in terms of being on the look-out, recognizing big shifts or big threats in the marketplace, and then actually making a dramatic shift in their business, if necessary?

KR: I think that you need outside, independent advisors—a board or even friends—because the biggest challenge to making that kind of change is that you’re still personally invested in that original business. You’re too close to it. We all have a tendency to change our targets and explain away slow-downs in revenue by saying, “It’s the sector. It’s the economy. We’re really doing a good job.” And we rationalize it. Two years later, you realize that you always knew this wasn’t working and you didn’t suck it up and admit it.