The most recent CEO Ride through the Black Hills and around Sturgis and Deadwood, South Dakota, was our best to date. During our business sessions, one of the riders continually referred to industry disruptors and compelled us to look at our respective businesses in that light. Everyone, from those in investing to global security to IT to construction to retail had them – including me.
You see, The CEO Ride is based on the decades-old peer group model that in the beginning was itself a disruptor. As knowledge between business leaders began to be shared in meaningful ways, they achieved a competitive advantage that resulted in their respective businesses flourishing.
Now, however, it’s time for a change in the old school, large group, one-meeting-per-month model. That’s because in this fast-paced era of business, it takes too long to become a cohesive team and groups often only deal with issues of the moment.
When founding The CEO Ride five years ago, I designed it to be a small, intimate gathering of entrepreneurs who engage in a week-long process where we share information and knowledge while creating one-of-a-kind experiences that (in their words) take them out of their heads and bond them for life.
In other words, we don’t show up in a meeting room at 9 a.m., drop our bombs and then return to our normal daily chaos. Instead, we meet in the room at 9 a.m., drop our bombs, and then as a group, ride through the countryside letting our heads run free, coming up with one new idea after another and always building on our daily conversations.
And we do this for four consecutive days.
During that time, this group of very different, high performance leaders come together to form a solid team in a fraction of the time. Like the experience of riding, it’s hard to truly describe the depth of connection achieved, but I’ll try using our most recent ride as an example.
Day 1 began as a typical peer group meeting where everyone got to know one another and where the conversations were mostly business, focusing on just facts and lightly sprinkled with a bit of personal info. Then we added a 150-mile ride, and the shared experience quickly broke through the surface and created our own inside stories and jokes.
This was followed by dinner, where the conversations, be it business or personal, went even deeper—and where, as one multiple-time CEO Rider put it, “We’ll become your friends if you let us.” We multiplied this over the course of days discussing in-depth each other’s fears, attitudes, issues and desires in a continuous loop of sharing and most importantly – caring.
At week’s end we truly KNEW each other and had forged bonds of support that will continue to grow over time and have us all looking forward to the next ride.
Now I know this blog comes off as a shill for The CEO Ride, but there was really no other way to get my point across. Other entrepreneurs may not share our passion for the open road, and but they share a passion for something.
The saying “It’s lonely at the top” is not a cliché … it’s a fact. So whether it’s a passion for hiking, rock climbing, sailing, fishing or whatever activity takes you out of your head, find others who share it and come together to simply be who you are—because that, my friend, is when the magic happens.
As always – These are my thoughts, I could be wrong. So, if you disagree or simply want to add to it, please do so. I look forward to the conversation.
Dwain – CEO Rider