Industry-Focus to Outpace the Competition: Each Round Table is comprised of companies that are industry-focused on technoogy. The Members of each regional group represent a broad spectrum of the technology industry, but none of them are direct competitors. Our CEO Members develop new approaches to pitfalls unique to technology companies, while engaging in confidential executive peer coaching. ABL’s Members are committed to seeing their fellow Members succeed, grow and outpace their competition.
Industry Leadership Expertise: Our Members all have one thing in common: in order to emerge successfully, they need to navigate and adapt to the ever-changing climate around them. The industry expertise of fellow Members helps to examine and reshape core capabilities, seek out markets, and acknowledge the need to periodically refocus their businesses. Members are able to stay ahead of the latest trends impacting the technology industry and their organizations. They truly define Adaptive Business Leaders, weathering storms and driving their businesses forward.
Peer-to-Peer Mentoring: It is this aspect of ABL that is a necessity for every technology business leader. These CEO groups enable you to focus on your business rather than in it and leverage the collective wisdom and experience of your fellow Members. With Membership comes entry into a domain where identifying the solutions to the problems of tomorrow is the focus of today.
Honest Advice & Feedback: Members can vet – safely and confidentially – new lines of business and product offerings with savvy peers, who are firmly committed to helping their fellow Members (and themselves) grow successful technology organizations. Discuss “What’s Keeping You Up Nights?,” during which the Members share their opportunities and challenges and get valuable feedback from the group on how they’ve best dealt with similar situations.
Networking: Beyond their monthly CEO group, Members are able to network with fellow Members in the other Round Tables. These connections often lead to new partners, clients and ventures.
Members are able to stay abreast of industry trends that affect their business and keep ahead of the curve in their rapidly changing industry. Connections made within the groups – and throughout the ABL Organization – further accelerate business growth. Members experience full value and a solid return on their investment of time and fees when attending the monthly sessions on a regular basis.
Among the most frequently asked questions we hear at the Adaptive Business Leaders Organization (ABL) is, “How is an ABL CEO Round Table forum different from a Vistage group?” (Variations on this theme include “How are you different from YPO, The Alliance of CEOs,” and seemingly dozens of other “networking” groups.)
The answer is FOCUS. Frankly, not all “contacts” that one makes while “networking” are equal, nor is the quality of their business advice. The better another person understands your industry and its unique competitive, operational, and regulatory ecosystem, the more specific and valuable their executive insights, guidance, and referrals can be.
For over 30 years, I’ve witnessed time and again a Tech CEO pose to his or her fellow Technology Round Table mates a question that only someone at the CEO-level in a tech firm, who’s dealt with similar challenges, could respond to adequately. These include questions like: how to deal with prima donna developers, what are the nuances associated with rewriting programs in a new computer language or on a new platform, what’s the best way to transition from “waterfall” to “agile” development, or how to determine the tax implications of various ways of granting equity?
And, the same thing is true for our Healthcare Members, where in their Healthcare-Industry-Only Round Tables, they can candidly and confidentially discuss how, in each of their sectors, they can survive and thrive under a barrage of changes in legislation, regulations, reimbursement, and patient expectations, while integrating the new Health IT solutions necessary to meet the radically changing requirements and mandates of the marketplace and payer community.
Fortunately for our current Members, our Founding Chairman, Walter Bauer CEO of Informatics General, had been a member of TEC (The Executive Committee, now Vistage). And, while he appreciated the value of hearing about the “general business” issues faced by CEOs in other industries, he noticed that his fellow members’ eyes glazed over when he spoke about many of the challenges he faced running his software technology company. So, in 1983, Walt proposed three requirements to our founding professional facilitators: 1) each Round Table would be composed of only technology CEO Members – or individuals running corporate tech divisions; 2) the sessions would only last half a day (many groups require full-day meetings); and 3) cut the price in half (ABL Membership has typically been less than half the investment of other CEO groups). Six years later, in 1989, we applied the same criteria in the formation of our first Healthcare Round Table – and have for all of our industry-focused Round Tables ever since.
ABL’s current Technology Chair, Dave Berkus, who’s been an active ABL Member since 1988, posted that he finds the greatest value in ABL, in “the constant hearing of stories by these CEOs of how they were able to adapt to changes in their environment and alter the course of their leadership, adapting to external influences that had changed in their industry or the economy.”
Unquestionably, these stories are all the more meaningful because they’re from fellow Technology CEOs, who reside in a similar tech-focused environment. And, the same is true for our Healthcare Members as well.
"I've been able to use my fellow ABL members as partners and as an informal board of directors, and the Round Tables keep me current on best practices and trends. In all, ABL has been wonderful to me."
"This group of fellow executives is ready to share and solve your problems of the month, or share theirs with you to better inform you of those you might otherwise miss in your management life. It is certainly worth the time and effort to hone your skills at becoming an Adaptive Business Leader."
T"he most valuable aspect of ABL for me is the mentoring and access to a century of business experience, with like-minded knowledgeable people."
"I probably would have to pay 16 consultants to get the kind of great information I get from the Round Tables and the people in my group."
"The best thing for me about ABL is the learning that takes place. I enjoy listening to problems my colleagues are facing and then what kind of solutions are there to deal with those problems. In the process, I gain a wealth of knowledge to improve my business."
"ABL has been a great pay-off for me and I have found great value. It has brought me help in financing the company, resolving financial issues, and customer problems. And it’s served for personal growth, too."
"ABL has been great. It has really helped me in being able to work with start-up businesses and be a very effective entrepreneur - without all the support you get from an 85,000-person company like General Motors."
"I’ve belonged to a lot of organizations, and ABL is, hands down, the best."
"I've been a Member of ABL for the last 15 years. ABL has given me a good group of more experienced executives who've walked in shoes that I am about to walk in."
"ABL allows you to set aside everything else and really just listen, interact, and think about a whole completely different set of issues than you will on a day-to-day basis."
"I see ABL as finishing school. I got my undergrad [at Harvard] and never went back, so this is definitely a continuation of my education."
"When I first looked at the price tag of the Round Table annually, I thought, Wow, that’s kind of a lot of money. Now my perspective is that is a drop in the bucket, compared to the value received."
"The best thing for me about ABL are the great people in the Organization. It’s a caring group of people, they are very open in sharing their own problems, and that leads to an environment where you can share your problems back. And they’re non-judgmental. They’ll give you the best advise they can. You can take it or not."
"The big thing that ABL provides to us is that it’s companies of like interests, as opposed to other types of groups that have CEOs with maybe very divergent interests."