Vistage, the world's largest association of CEOs, with 27,000 members in 27 countries, is preparing to select members.
The appointment takes place in the Torre de Cristal, the skyscraper designed by César Pelli in the north of Madrid.
The people in charge of the organization, led by the Brazilian Miguel Pardo, will lead a four-hour meeting after which they will decide if their guests, senior executives and founders of
, meet the necessary conditions to belong to this select club whose objective is multiply the growth of companies and do it so that managers can have more time for themselves.
Four candidates meet around a coffee.
The action begins.
Under the principle of confidentiality, Vistage members explain the rules of the game.
Each participant has to introduce themselves and announce the challenge that has brought them there.
The challenges are varied: one wants to "evangelize" more customers, another for his company to gain scalability, the next to look for a new project outside the company he works for, and the last to define his professional career.
Two are veteran managers and two are young at the head of
They have to assess their professional and personal situation from 1 to 10.
Result: between 5 and 8.
José Alonso-Iñarra, from Vistage, presents the association.
It was founded in 1957 in San Diego (California) with two objectives.
When you are at the top of the business, the CEO is alone and his gaze is focused on his sector.
He works and works without separating his personal life from his professional life and that creates a huge imbalance, he explains.
that the club intends to solve.
“The objective is to help both the person and the professional to grow”, he indicates, “we work on the strategic basis, not on execution or management.
We help executives get out of the box”, says this executive experienced in multinationals such as Kellogg, Heinz or L'Oréal.
Miguel Pardo takes the floor.
Ask about the skills that a leader must possess and then analyze one by one the seven that Vistage partners have defined for 2022: inspire a common vision, lead and let others manage, know your numbers, have and keep the best people , achieve and maintain customer loyalty, identify new trends, risks and opportunities and be aware of yourself.
And he asks each applicant to value themselves in each of them and establish on the same map what score they aspire to reach in the short term.
Pardo knows that the manager's loneliness encourages him not to delegate, not to put himself in the other's shoes and to neglect his personal life between so many hours of work.
He has suffered.
There is a short break before tackling the last test: the executive challenge.
Jacobo, a figurative name, is the guinea pig.
Founder and leader of a young technology company has a problem with the functioning of the board of directors that drains him of energy to dedicate himself to the day-to-day life of the
He poses his challenge and for more than an hour and a half, he submits to the multiple questions from the group and explains the situation that, for reasons of confidentiality, cannot be exposed in these lines.
Once the issue is known and debated so that the audience can make a diagnosis before advancing possible solutions, the participants are asked to reformulate the challenge in their own words.
Jacobo will be able to change his question by following these suggestions, as he does.
Then managers launch their possible solutions.
Jacobo chooses one of them and agrees to implement it.
Vistage has cited him as a possible member of the association after this intense session that is still a sample of how he works.
Sharing is vital.
Drive away the loneliness of the leader.
And self-knowledge is the key to seeking personal and professional balance.
goodbye to loneliness
Agustín Rodríguez, CEO and majority shareholder of PFS Group, has raised different executive challenges in the group with which he works since he became part of Vistage in September 2019.
"I was looking for a forum for businessmen [not for consultants, professors or
] where I could share my concerns and help me separate myself from day to day and have a broader vision with which I could anticipate my decisions," he says.
To overcome the problem of managerial loneliness, he says, "in an environment where the same thing happens to others and their opinions are not conditioned because you pay them."
In his case, he found remedies to enter an investment fund in the capital of PFS, dedicated to offering its own software and analytical solutions for credit collection management, tying all contracts to the maximum or to limit payment delays of big companies.
Drawing on the experience of his fellow businessmen and top multinational executives, who suggested that he require new clients to pay in advance for his services, Rodríguez has reduced payment arrears by a third, from 80 to 60 days, he says.
The CEO of PFS is firmly convinced of the influence of this advisory club in the progress of his company, which has gone from billing 9 million euros and having 170 employees in 2018, when it took control, to the 45 million and 400 current workers.
"I can't blame Vistage for everything, but it has been a great facilitator that has allowed me to look up and face an internationalization plan, the purchase of companies or reinforce the management team to multiply the business fivefold," he says.
And not only that.
Rodríguez has his 2023 agenda planned and has blocked days to dedicate to the family, travel with his wife ... and take care of his health.
"Every year I spend fewer hours at work, but they are of a higher quality," he settles.
How does it work
The Vistage executive advisory association for CEOs, business owners and entrepreneurs is present in Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao and Valencia.
It has a hundred members.
But its goal is to reach a thousand by 2030, explains Miguel Pardo, its president.
The members work in groups of between 12 and 16 with first swords of medium and small companies, who meet for a full day a month and more than an hour with their chair or mentor.
This is how they expose their problems and try to solve them.
In addition, Vistage invites prestigious speakers and has a wide network of
Members pay an entry fee of 1,320 euros and a monthly fee of 1,085.
“Managers suffer from myopia and when they enter Vistage they significantly broaden their point of view.
By listening to colleagues, they discover new ways of doing things and can apply them to their company”, appreciates Juan Carlos Santé, chair of the association.
Of course, they have to sign a confidentiality contract that if they break it carries a fine of one million euros.