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Startup CEO: A Field Guide to Scaling Up Your Business, + Website by Matt Blumberg

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CHAPTER FORTY-THREE

THE IMPORTANCE OF PEER GROUPS

It's often said that being a CEO is the loneliest job in the world. Fred Wilson describes it elegantly in a blog post from 2005:

I often look at a founder or a CEO, see the tired eyes, an anxious twitch in the cheek or a missing beat in their step and think to myself or say out loud to others—he's got the weight of the company on his shoulders.

Being the founder and/or CEO is heavy duty. To use another cliché, it's lonely at the top…. Most people, regardless of how well prepared they are for the role, will find being the leader to be a thankless role at times.

Everyone inside the company is looking to you for answers, leadership, direction and on top of that, they want it with a smile and a pat on the back.

Try doing all that on a day when you find out that the numbers were awful the past month, that your CTO is leaving to do another startup and your lead investor is giving you a hard time.

Frankly, it's a thankless task most of the time. Because who do they report to? A board, not a person. A board is a lot less likely to provide day to day management and support. Groups don't do that, people do. Unfortunately, a board is a group, not a person.

A great coach can help with this. So can a great board, acting as a group or as individuals. Quite frankly, so can a great management team or even an informal “kitchen cabinet” inside an organization. With all of those, something is missing. Even the most empathic boards or coaches, even ...

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