CEO Peer to Peer Learning

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Steve Scott Interview: Achieving Milestones with the CEO Collective’s Guidance
June 14, 2024

What initially drew you to join the CEO Collective? My company was maturing and undergoing significant changes, and I faced resistance to these changes internally and didn’t have a reliable sounding board. The Collective provided me with an unofficial board of advisors and a process that helped me step back from the day-to-day details and see my way forward.

Reflecting on your journey within the group, what significant personal or professional growth have you experienced as a result of your involvement? In 2005, my BHAG was to become a $1 billion+ AUM retirement plan consulting firm. We surpassed that goal and are now approaching $2 billion. Personally, I've gained more personal time and freedom by delegating daily activities that I was initially resistant to offload, but was encouraged to by my peer group.

Can you share a memorable moment or pivotal discussion around a case you presented that has had a lasting impact on you? Last year, we lost our largest client, which was essentially a division within our company. Despite this setback, we transitioned to growth mode within months. The group's feedback was invaluable in navigating this challenging period. We are now onboarding more new clients than ever before and expect to replace the lost revenue within five quarters.

How has the CEO Collective adapted and evolved over the past 25 years to meet the changing needs and challenges of its members and the business landscape? There's now more collaboration between groups compared to my early years. The off-site meetings are more inclusive of the full range of business entities we represent, rather than just a few larger groups.

As a longstanding member, what do you believe sets the CEO Collective apart from other professional networks or peer groups? Independent thought. While it may take new members some time to understand your business and your industry, other peer groups that are more industry focused often have underlying interests that can compromise the independence of their advice.

What role has the CEO Collective played in fostering collaboration, innovation, or strategic thinking within your own organization? A key example is how we identified our strengths and weaknesses, and used strategic partnerships to address those weaknesses, particularly in distribution.

Can you share an example of how the relationships you've built within the CEO Collective have influenced your decision-making or problem-solving processes? One of my peers went through a difficult financial period, allowing himself a brief emotional reaction before turning it into a project management challenge. This inspired me to manage my emotions better during both wins and losses.

Looking ahead to the future, what do you envision for the CEO Collective, and how do you see it impacting you? My next chapter is to prepare the business for sale. Being ready and understanding the market and options will be critical for me and the firm in the next five years. I know my peer group members will be invaluable in this process -- and I will have access to the larger network.

How has being part of the CEO Collective supported you in the CEO role, and what advice would you offer to new members or aspiring leaders considering joining? Take the feedback you offer others seriously. Give generously in your area of expertise, and you'll receive similar levels of commitment. Respect the Collective as a supportive board that helps you prepare for difficult decisions, rather than a traditional board that makes decisions for you.

Learn more about the CEO Collective here.

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