and managers go to training sessions to develop, to learn how to handle
situations, and to think “outside the box”. As the chief executive,
where do you go? Having grown the company to where it is today, or
having stepped into a thriving company assumes a degree of business knowledge
and leadership qualities. As has been said many times however, we stop learning
only when we are dead.
accomplished more than the vast majority of executives and managers.
What else is there other than having to be in a setting with people who are
trying to learn what you learned long ago? The answer is an executive
peer group or roundtable. They provide an opportunity to meet with
fellow business leaders who have also learned through building and running
their companies. Such groups are designed to stimulate thinking and help
introduce members to new ideas that have helped other executives achieve
higher performance, and they help members stay current with the changing
The sense of
isolation disappears. Issues with which you have limited or no
experience can now be discussed with a group of your peers that you have come
to trust. This trust grows quite quickly because groups are both
confidential and do not have competing companies represented. When
obstacles seem overwhelming, input from peers adds a new perspective, along
with creative problem solving and support.
privately held companies have a Board of Directors that consist of their
attorney, their CPA, their spouse and one or two friends. The executive
peer group provides the equivalent of an advisory board and one that has no
aspect similar to a Board, is that of accountability. The peer group and
its facilitator hold your feet to the fire to ensure that you accomplish all
you are capable of accomplishing.
The executive peer group is a
forum to address strategic and tactical issues and offer valuable insights and
ideas. The meetings provide valuable, timely information and allow for
the discussion of ideas, problems, and concerns. They are a healthy way
for business leaders to share insights and are an opportunity for you to
network with your colleagues and discover what others are doing to resolve the
same issues you are facing.
Discussions vary in topic and
cover everything from business development issues, managing growth and change;
finding and retaining the right people for the job; benchmarking internal
growth; creating customer value; turning industry challenges into benefits;
security - plant, personnel and data; China vs. Russia as a fertile ground
of opportunity; creativity; finance for non-financial leaders
of Executive Peer Groups
These can range from an annual
gathering at the national trade conference, to online chat rooms, quarterly
industry meetings and monthly meetings. They are established by trade
groups and associations, non-profit organizations and networking companies.
International FieldWorks, Inc.,
a global management consulting agency, has established the Sophocles Society,
designed as a forum for its clients and bringing world-class experts to their
The Sophocles Society has a
three step process:
Learn from each other
issues and get fresh perspectives and creative ideas from other successful
business leaders. Share your experience to challenge and help other
members. Strategic discussions produce groundbreaking shifts in
corporate strategies. You ask questions and also be questioned and
challenged by your fellow members Each is professionally facilitated to
keep the group on track. The atmosphere is fun, challenging, intense,
Learn from the experts
Each month a
topic of interest is presented by an expert in that field. These experts
present new ideas and perspectives that help you solve problems and implement
positive change in your company. They will share their business
expertise, offer strategies for success and keep you moving forward
Between each meeting, the
Director will meet with you individually to explore issues and opportunities
in privacy and in greater depth and develop action plans to move your company
forward for which you will be held accountable.
Although carefully formatted,
detailed agendas are not developed for the monthly meetings in order to
promote a dynamic exchange of ideas, opinion and information on specific
issues important to the members. Each Sophocles Society group sets
groundrules by which everyone abides and although these differ slightly from
group to group, they all have the two basics:
Each member must be
prepared to contribute to the roundtable. Its success depends on the total
participation of the group
Strict confidentiality is
Each group is limited to 14
members to insure that everyone can participate in the discussion.
neither a "leads" group nor a platform for selling.
of an Executive Peer Group
The goal is
for executives to provide one another with support, encouragement, and
objective perspectives about organizational and leadership issues members are
and frustration by using the ideas that are shared between you and your
fellow members. Fast track your company's progress to higher and higher
levels of success. It can help you cut years off the development of your
forward quickly. As a member, you'll find yourself motivated to work ON
the company like never before. We celebrate success creating an atmosphere
feelings of isolation as you try to make the best possible strategic
decisions for yourself, your employees, and your company. Your group will
become your Board of Directors -- people who have been there before and
have the experience to help you make the right choices.
advantage of these jam-packed hours away from the office to work on the
issues that are vital to your company's future.
critical business skills from experts
business relationships, forge new alliances, and an opportunity to
nurture lasting relationships.
Sophocles Society Difference
the Sophocles Society different? Our meetings are intense but casual and
we have fun. We follow a structure that has been developed through more than
twenty years of consulting and coaching experience. Our expert facilitators
have a firm but caring hand on the procedures, allowing each person to share
their insights with flexibility. Sponsored by International FieldWorks,
we bring world-class resources to each meeting to share their expertise and
discuss trends and new developments.
in the Sophocles Society is limited to the CEO, president, owner/partner or
key manager responsible for the day-to-day operations of a privately-held
business with annual revenues of at least $10 million.
Members are carefully grouped
to represent a mix of non-competing businesses with enough in common to relate
to the issues under discussion. Each group is composed of up to 14
members from a broad range of fields, each meeting begins promptly at 7:30
a.m. and adjourns at 1:00 p.m.
groups are formed as needed. No consultants, suppliers or other
“interested parties” may attend.
If you are the owner of a
company producing at least $10 million in annual volume and feel like you
should be doing more with your company, join Sophocles-- a think tank
exclusively for chief executives. Sophocles brings you together with your
peers to share experiences, knowledge, procedures, and advice. You'll quickly
come to look upon your fellow members as your company board of directors --
of Successful Business Leaders
the program work?
half-day meeting each month with your group members
Sophocles Society director to moderate your monthly executive sessions
encouraging focus, innovative thinking and goal setting as well as ensuring
the group monitors its process and progress
monthly one-on-one private consultation with the director
expert speaker each month to address a common topic the group is experiencing
When and where are the
2nd Wednesday of the month; initial meeting June 11, 2003
7:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
will be held at a member facility or other location of their choice, rotating
among all members
the format of the meetings?
presidents and business owners from non-competing companies assemble monthly
to hear a presentation on a topic of interest then consult and advise each
other in a non-selling, non-competitive, confidential setting.
- 10:30 Breakfast; Introductions;
10:30 - 10:45 Break
10:45 - 1:00 Roundtable discussion
members will there be?
ten and fourteen members will meet each month
be the topics of the presentations each month?
topics will be decided by the members and the director will provide an expert
on that topic. These presenters will be experts in their field and will
engage in discussions with members as to how their topic applies to each
What can I
expect to get out of it?
an informal board of directors and advisors offering many cumulative years
of business experience
ability to anticipate trends and issues
through difficult issues gaining multiple perspectives (informed "second
opinions") on these issues to help make better decisions
Field is the Founder and Chief Operating Officer of International FieldWorks,
Inc. and is responsible for the assignments and management of some 900
senior professionals throughout the world. A consultant for over
nineteen years, her specialties are operational improvement, conflict
resolution, business development and executive coaching.
has consulted major corporations in the U.S. and Europe including General
Electric, Times Mirror, TRW, AT&T, not-for-profit organizations such as
World Vision and Mountains Conservancy, small companies such as Cambridge
Computers Ltd., Jason Natural Products and government agencies such as City of
redesigned companies, department by department, kept companies out of the
courts through resolution of conflicts, and assisted executives in growing and
expanding their businesses. Her understanding of business comes
from having been an employee, contractor, vendor and owner.
to her career in consulting, Pauline spent several years in management in the
legal, publishing, and manufacturing fields and in high tech sales.
published numerous articles and audio tapes on business practices and
management skills, has appeared on radio and television and is a sought-after
Her Bachelor’s degree is
from Cal State, Northridge and she completed her Master’s work at Cornell
University in New York.