Better Decisions Fuel Success

Better Decisions Fuel Success


Better Decisions Fuel Success

Helping business leaders to achieve more and build their professional and personal success is what brings lasting significance to my own career. Changing the way leaders guide their companies and make decisions affects an entire community, including the lives of employees and their families. Better decisions drive better results and more productive and successful businesses.

As leaders gain balance and perspective, they become more engaged in the community and the whole region can benefit.

Throughout a professional career of business leadership and executive coaching, I’ve gained wisdom from many sources and experiences. Always receptive to new ideas and seeking improvement, I have refined my business practices over the years and apply advice I share with others.

Most recently, I’ve chosen to align the RoundTable Consulting business coaching practice with the widely known and highly respected Vistage organization.

This was not a difficult decision to make. Instead, it was a natural fit that allows me to continue to enhance my own skills and abilities while offering a wider and deeper array of resources to the clients who work with me.


Why Vistage?

Proven structure
Vistage has a longstanding record of success through confidential peer advisory groups–a structure that I have used successfully for a long time. For more than 65 years the formula of drawing CEOs into an environment away from their daily responsibilities, where they can focus exclusively on their business, has succeeded, building companies that have outperformed their competition. Since its founding in 1957, more than 100,000 CEOs have participated in Vistage groups; today there are more than 45,000 active members in 35 countries.

Advanced resources
Proprietary research, an extensive body of thought leadership content, and access to a community of more than 1000 speakers and workshop leaders support Vistage peer groups. By introducing Vistage to our community, I can now offer my clients access to an even richer pool of resources.

Record of success
The success of Vistage members is measurable. A comparison of the growth of member companies to those of similar size through D&B shows that member companies on average grew 2.2 times faster. That record of CEO performance can be attributed to the effectiveness of the methods and to the inherently high performing characteristics of the membership.

Relationships that refine Connecting leaders from a variety of non-competing industries creates the environment for innovation and fresh ideas to flourish; collaboration in this setting is multiplied in effectiveness. Accountability is an important aspect of the groups. It produces results and motivates participants to follow through, while confidentiality establishes a safe place that breaks down the isolation CEOs so often experience.


Why RoundTable Consulting?

The Chairs selected by Vistage to conduct CEO Peer Groups are hand-picked. Becoming a Chair means joining an elite group of seasoned business leaders, highly qualified in leading businesses. Among other required qualifications to become a Vistage Chair, a leader must have achieved personal success as a CEO, business owner or senior executive and weathered the challenges of having full responsibility for an organization.

As a Chair, I bring the accumulated wisdom of a long career as a business owner as well as experience gained throughout a career in business consulting. My perspective in championing organizational health adds another unique dimension to my leadership style.

Mentoring, guiding, and facilitating to maximize the skills and leadership of CEOs and others is what provides purpose for my work. When the lives and performance of leaders are changed, whole communities can change–colleagues, staff, customers, suppliers, and more. Gaining the ability to make better, stronger, and faster decisions builds confidence and effectiveness that flows into other areas of life.


Why Vistage at RoundTable Consulting?

There’s a unique synergy between a peer advisory group leader and the participants of each group. In part, this is shaped by the individual leadership style, character, and approach of the leader in addition to the leader’s experience.

The Vistage CEO Peer Group model includes one-on-one coaching sessions with the group chair, giving participants individualized mentoring and objective guidance to help identify and refine the issues to raise within the group that will bring the most far-reaching results.

Choosing to join a Vistage CEO Peer Group through RoundTable Consulting provides access to a rich supply of proprietary research and noteworthy workshop speakers, in addition to the experience of executive peers. Using a local, in-person advisory group model, partnership with Vistage introduces this specific premier coaching service to our community and region; as it grows, so will the network of connections increase.

When it’s time to take action on the results of advisory group discussions, RoundTable Consulting offers a broad range of business consulting services that complement the CEO Peer Group, including executive coaching, facilitation, and strategic planning.

Groups are forming now. Take a few minutes for a conversation; let’s explore the options and see if a Vistage Peer Group is right for you.

Nancy Owsianowski is the Founder of RoundTable Consulting
where her relational, insightful approach transforms teams,
leaders, and organizations.

Better Decisions Fuel Success

The Power of a Peer Advisory Group


The Power of a Peer Advisory Group

As a CEO or business owner, the best decisions you make for your business involve developing the people who make up your teams to become better leaders, to make better decisions, and to drive better outcomes in business and in life. Now is the time to invest in yourself in the exact same way.

You might feel it’s too late for a New Year’s resolution, but it’s not too late to take a step that could dramatically energize your business and your life outside the office.

As a CEO or business owner, you have the vision and the authority to make things happen at every level. You also have an impossibly full schedule with little room to squeeze in one more activity. But if that activity is joining a peer advisory group, that single step can bring deep and lasting benefits to you and your company.

Time is a precious resource. Beyond spending it wisely, it’s important to spend it in a way that multiplies its value. Consider the focusing question Gary Keller asks in his book, The ONE Thing, “what is the one thing I can do such that by doing it everything else will become easier or unnecessary?”

Imagine the insights you might receive in bringing your struggles and opportunities to a group of CEOs who have perspectives on similar issues. The benefits that you can derive from joining a peer advisory group pay dividends that reach into all areas of life.


Freedoms vs constraints

The freedom to make decisions, take risks, and control your own destiny are associated with the role of CEO or business owner. At the same time, these freedoms are constrained by a sense of isolation and the feeling that there’s no one to talk to about sensitive issues, openly and trustingly, within the organization.

In a peer advisory group, composed of 12 or more leaders from non-competing industries, the balance changes. You’re no longer alone at the top. Instead you become part of a group that shares a common goal of making better decisions that drive to better outcomes.


Questions vs clarity

When the full responsibility of your business is on your shoulders, you can find yourself deeply immersed in the day-to-day action. Situations arise–whether problems or opportunities–and you’re without the necessary perspective needed to act.

A peer advisory group brings together a select group of high-caliber individuals, executives in diverse industries, who share some common interests and concerns. The group helps you gain perspective, to avoid the tunnel vision that leads you to always respond to similar challenges the same way.

Confidentiality and trust within the group provide the structure that allows for open and honest sharing. Mutual respect and a common focus on better decision making create the setting for powerful conversations that lead to growth that can’t be achieved on your own.


Inaction vs accountability

Change is hard, even when the results are strongly desired. It’s easy to slip back to old ways– just look at the typical pattern of New Year’s resolutions. Accountability, particularly to a group or to someone you respect, changes the dynamic entirely. A peer advisory group fulfills this function. When you’re the boss, who has the authority to really keep you accountable?

In-person peer advisory groups are being formed with these challenges and goals in mind.

As a seasoned business coach leading peer advisory groups for nearly a decade, I have chosen to expand my practice by partnering with Vistage and taken on the role of Vistage Chair.

The peer group model creates an effective space for CEOs to come together and share in a way that helps them become better leaders, make better decisions, and drive better outcomes in business and in life.

At this point, I am looking for growth-minded CEOs from non-competing industries who are committed to growing their businesses and themselves in the next few years.

If this is something you’d like to explore, why not schedule a 15-minute call so we can determine if this might be a good fit for you?


Nancy Owsianowski is the Founder of RoundTable Consulting
where her relational, insightful approach transforms teams,
leaders, and organizations.

Better Decisions Fuel Success

Achieve Alignment with Facilitation

Achieve Alignment with Facilitation

We’ve all been there. In meetings that lose focus, wander far off topic, and drag on endlessly. Or other meetings where the “discussion” is so tightly constrained and alternative views so unwelcome, any real dialog is stifled.

When the stakes are high and the issues at hand are deeply important to the organization — or involve points that involve differences of opinion or strong emotion — you can’t afford to have unproductive meetings.

A facilitator may not be a magician, but the work they do can bring order, harmony, and clarity to the most critical discussions organizations face. Facilitation makes the group better together, building a synergy that leads to action and results. Let’s take a quick look at what you can expect.

How does facilitation differ from running a meeting?

The critical point of differentiation is that a facilitator helps the group reach their goals as a neutral party, without defining or influencing the outcome. As a leader guiding a group through a structured process, a facilitator is not a contributor to the points of discussion. The facilitator’s objective is to help the group arrive at results that are accepted and understood by the participants. Simply running a meeting, on the other hand, often maintains a tight focus on a set agenda, conveying information, delegating tasks, and working toward a pre-defined outcome.

Who can be a facilitator?

While it might be tempting to tap the CEO or other executive for the role of facilitator, that’s not always the best choice. The traits that allow an individual to excel as CEO are not the same ones that describe the best facilitators. When the facilitator is the CEO, it can be hard for other participants to see past the CEO’s rank. For example, many times participants are reluctant to speak as freely as they otherwise might, which can substantially alter the quality of discussions.

It is possible that facilitators can come from within the ranks of your organization, if they bring the right set of skills and qualifications and are prepared to function in a neutral rather than participatory role. A vital part of facilitation is ensuring that all participants are engaged and contributing. That includes cultivating input from more reticent participants as well as politely preventing stronger — or more senior — participants from controlling the conversation.

An in-house facilitator does face additional hurdles. Ensuring equal engagement in discussion may be difficult because it could be hard for a facilitator to push back against a CEO or superior in a meeting in order to give everyone’s views equal treatment.

A professional facilitator from outside your organization can politely and effectively control the discussion to ensure that all participants are treated equally and ensure that all views are considered, without fear of repercussions. The setting becomes a place of safety and trust.

What situations call for a facilitator?

Strategic planning sessions, off-site retreats, board meetings, innovation sessions, corporate summits, and campaign kick-offs are just some of the situations that benefit from leadership of a professional facilitator. Tough or politically charged discussions and complex issues are more easily resolved when a professional facilitator shepherds the process.

In other words, facilitation makes things easier for the participants and the organization to identify and solve problems and move forward together. Participants and stakeholders have greater opportunity to listen, understand and focus to achieve true collaboration. Discussions become richer because those around the table feel respected and accepted — and more willing to share their views.

What should you look for in a facilitator?

When you’re choosing a professional facilitator to work with your organization, it helps to keep in mind some of the key traits a facilitator should possess. A facilitator should be:

  • Impartial
  • Perceptive
  • Patient
  • Persistent
  • Adaptable

To be effective, a facilitator must be an active listener capable of motivating the group. He or she should have a positive attitude and be skilled at managing emotion and setting the tone for the group. Choose a facilitator with knowledge in your industry or business; especially for retreats or development sessions, the facilitator should be equipped with tools and exercises that will help develop participant skills, promote engagement, and improve the overall process of building the team.

When you engage RoundTable Consulting to facilitate, you’ll be working with a professional who creates a comfortable safe environment for participants while establishing accountability and helping the leadership to achieve alignment and effective communication that cascades throughout the organization.

It all begins with a conversation. Contact me for a free consultation and let’s talk about how I can help your organization achieve the results you need

Nancy Owsianowski is the Founder of RoundTable Consulting where her relational, insightful approach transforms teams, leaders, and organizations.

Better Decisions Fuel Success

Be Proactive, Not Reactive, with the Right Strategic Plan

Coachability Leads to Success

Every new year is ripe with potential as we look forward to what we can accomplish in the months ahead. The chaos that has characterized the last couple of years has taught us that uncertainty won’t ever go away; tidy predictability is not part of our world, nor will it ever be, despite the relief we feel at once again being able to meet in person, shake hands, and conduct business in more familiar ways.

We know that holding on to the status quo or preventing change is not possible. We do, however, have an effective response. We can prepare for the future with a strategic plan. Planning puts your organization in a proactive position–anticipating, and preparing for, what could be ahead. Predictions, like those from Michael Weidokal, may offer a sense of what could be in store, but a strategic plan provides the structure to guide your organization’s response to events that come along so you can keep moving forward.

While strategic planning can be done as a regular activity of business for an in-house team, sometimes organizations need a helping hand. The process often requires tough conversations and honest answers that could be divisive. A skilled business consultant can help you navigate the process, bringing neutrality to discussions and ensuring both full participation and accountability from key stakeholders.

Before you can move ahead, you have to know where you are. The process begins by assessing your organization to find what’s working and what’s not. Take stock of the health of the relationships that drive your organization; make sure any communications or functional problems are addressed before embarking on further plans.

On your own or with a business consultant, a classic SWOT analysis will help identify the strengths and weaknesses within your organization and the opportunities and threats that affect it. Clear, honest, and objective thinking is involved here as you truly assess your strengths. Identify where you may be throwing resources at a weakness instead of using them to enhance a strength. Remember that opportunities may require hard work and what may appear to be easy wins could prove to be nothing more than a tempting distraction from your core purpose.

As your strategic plan takes shape, be sure that your team has a clear understanding of the difference between a strategy and a wishful list of ambitions. Richard Rumelt, professor emeritus at UCLA Anderson School of Management, points out that too often a list of aspirations masquerades as a strategy. He recommends isolating the main challenge your organization faces and focusing on this one item as the basis of strategy. Rumelt says, “Strategy is problem-solving. It is how you overcome the obstacles that stand between where you are and what you want to achieve.”

With strategy clarified, actions and goals defined, your strategic plan becomes a roadmap for your future. The plan doesn’t end there, residing in a binder on a shelf, where it gathers dust. It must be implemented then reviewed on a consistent basis.

For a strategic plan to be effective alignment is necessary; as a recent Gallup article points out, “executives must align around a shared understanding of purpose.” Similarly, Rumelt, in his article, “Getting Strategy Wrong–and How to Do It Right Instead,” connects alignment with the need for focus as the most crucial element of strategy. Concentration is not scattered energy, splintered by different agendas. Instead, it is “the coordinated application of resources and effort to an important yet addressable challenge.” Effective coordination that focuses power on the right target to bring results begins with leadership that is aligned.

Whether you seek the assistance of an experienced consultant or work your way through the planning steps on your own, your organization will reap the benefits of improved efficiency from aligned leadership and a structure that will help to guide you through challenging times.

Where are you on this journey? As a business consultant experienced in strategic planning, facilitation and executive coaching, I help organizations move forward effectively. Are you ready to move forward with confidence? Let’s talk. Click here and let’s get the conversation started.


Nancy Owsianowski is the Founder of RoundTable Consulting where her relational, insightful approach transforms teams, leaders, and organizations.

Executive Coaching in Real Life

Executive Coaching in Real Life

Executive Coaching in Real Life

Knowing what needs to be done and actually doing it are two separate things. Even Peter Drucker has commented, “The problem in my life and in other people’s lives is not the absence of knowing what to do but the absence of doing it.” You get it. You’ve heard about executive coaching, considered it, and even had that feeling that confirms this is what you need at this point in your career.

Yet reaching out to an executive coach is still on your to-do list.

What’s holding you back? It could be as basic as fear of the unknown–what results can you expect, what does the relationship look like, how do you balance the public and private sides of your business life.

Let’s take a quick look at what you can expect.

Confidentiality: Secrets Remain Secret

First of all, the coaching relationship is confidential. What is said within the coaching environment stays there. One of the primary purposes of coaching is to provide you with a safe place to think, to reflect, and to share. The coaching relationship affords you the opportunity to drop the walls that surround you in other circumstances and honestly reflect on issues and concerns. It is a safe place to voice both hopes and worries, express deeply held reservations, and engage in open and honest discussion to help you move forward.

Each executive enters the coaching process with their own set of ambitions and challenges to be faced. The universal expectation is growth yet the path to accomplish that transformation is different for each person. A few examples drawn from executive coaching engagements will put the process in context.

The View from the Top: New CEO

CEOs are made, not born. The transition to CEO is not something to be underestimated. Even if you’re taking on the CEO role at the place where you’ve worked for years, everything changes once you assume the new title. When you’re promoted to the top role, the whole world shifts. Responsibilities, perspective, and behaviors all will be affected; you may sense an acute need for specific guidance as you redefine your role and working relationships.

Even more sobering is the point made by Carolyn Dewar, Scott Keller, Vikram Malhotra and Kurt Strovink in “Starting strong: Making your CEO transition a catalyst for renewal,” that within 18 months of taking on the role, one-third to one-half of new CEOs are considered to be failing. Of this group, more than 90 percent acknowledge they would like to have handled the transition differently. This is a critical time period for the organization, as well as the new CEO, during which an executive coach can provide necessary perspective.

Your pattern of engagement within the organization changes as your view as CEO is unique; your perspective is no longer shared in the same way by colleagues. How you allocate your time and the demands placed on it are radically different because your priorities have changed; requests must be filtered through a different set of values and obligations before you respond or make time in your schedule.

A new CEO may need increased confidence to share ideas within a leadership group. Dynamics change, especially when your desk is the one where the buck stops. At the same time, training may help you gain needed buy-in from other stakeholders, expanding your range of communications tools and methods. This could include sharpened listening skills and a deeper understanding of human behavior and what elements go into influencing the actions of others.

And an executive coach can see that all these refinements take place in a way that helps you achieve balance in life–so that the organization’s life doesn’t consume your own.

A Business Owner: You Are Your Business

For the owner and founder of a business, the personal identification with the organization is strong and close. That identification keeps your focus tight, but it can become a challenge to keep up with the additional demands and necessary roles of a growing enterprise. Growth can explode–becoming almost too much of a good thing–leaving you struggling to manage it all.

You may need to take a step back to gain perspective and regroup; pause to create space, think, and plan your next move with deliberation. This is the point where a coaching relationship brings value. A coach can help you gain the proper distance to see the organization objectively and assess what is needed. You can freely give voice to your vision, even in the early stages, and lay the groundwork for the changes you want to see. Accountability, honest conversation, and targeted leadership training are all aspects of the coaching engagement that can move you forward.

In the past, I’ve had the opportunity to work with a business owner whose company was facing rapid growth. The owner had a goal for the organization: to create and nurture a meaningful work environment for all employees. Stating the goal isn’t enough to make it true–culture change takes planning and consistent effort. Working together, we were able to structure and implement beneficial programs for the organization, including work environment changes. Going a step further, the coaching program also led to helping the business owner develop and implement a succession plan, bringing stability to the business and peace of mind to the owner.

The View from the Corner Office: C-Suite Executive

Whether you’re new to the organization or promoted from within, getting up to speed efficiently is critical. This process looks different for those promoted from within and those new to the company. It’s a process you can’t rush, but neither do you have unlimited time to absorb the collective wisdom of the organization.

An executive coach can help you view the situation with fresh eyes and assess the specific skills that need to be reinforced, as naturally, needs and objectives vary. Coaching offers guidance and even role play for navigating power dynamics and developing strategies to gain the trust of peers. Coaching can help refine communications techniques and strategies, including methods to build rapport and increase influence with other executives and stakeholders.

The coaching experience can help you clarify work and personal priorities so you can stay in your lane and move forward with clearly defined purpose and energy.

Every executive is unique, as is every organization. The beauty of coaching relationships is that each one reflects that individuality. While expectations for enhanced performance, selfawareness, and communication skills may be similar, the path that the engagement relationship takes to achieve results is one-of-a-kind.

Will you learn to share in a new way as you engage with an executive coach? Yes. You’ll have accountability and space to learn and practice new key behaviors. Perhaps you will still have a sense that it’s lonely at the top, but you’ll have clear structures available for support.

My focus is on helping leaders better manage themselves and their teams. Is this you? Do you know anyone who could use this kind of help? I am currently interviewing for 1 or 2 client openings. Come discover what’s possible with me! Click here and let’s get the conversation started.


Nancy Owsianowski is the Founder of RoundTable Consulting where her relational, insightful approach transforms teams, leaders, and organizations.

Executive Coaching in Real Life

Coachability Leads to Success

Coachability Leads to Success

How do you handle investments for your organization? As CEO or part of the executive leadership team, sound decision-making is second nature to you so substantial investments require thought, due diligence, and consideration of the timing. You prepare before you act. Choosing to work with an executive coach is a significant investment that warrants the attention and careful thought. You may have reached the point where you recognize that you have to tap outside resources to accomplish your next level goals.

You may need space to think and an objective, neutral party to be your confidential sounding board. In other words, you may conclude that you need an executive coach.

Executive coaching is an investment in your professional and personal growth as well as an investment in the success of your company or non-profit. While coaching is known to increase awareness and produce transformations, it also is an investment, and like other investments, needs to be explored with discernment to ensure you are fully prepared to accept the adventure that lies ahead.

Assessing your own attitudes and receptivity to coaching is a first step toward a coaching engagement, and your willingness to tackle this preparation points toward your readiness, or coachability.

Our attitudes and attributes aren’t fixed. An individual’s level of coachability may vary over time with different circumstances and events. Thus, timing–in terms of readiness and attitudes—plays a part in achieving a successful outcome and receiving the maximum benefits from coaching.

Consider these points as you assess your personal readiness to be coached:

No pain, no growth

Change is frequently uncomfortable, especially when it involves breaking long-standing habits and routines. You’ll be making new pathways and practicing new patterns of thought and activity, so it’s important to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. Like changing your golf grip, what feels awkward at first becomes familiar with practice and may bring clear benefits.

As you reflect on questions from your coach, you can expect to see situations—and yourself— differently and you may not like what is revealed. Honestly facing your flaws or areas that need improvement is a necessary part of the transformation process, despite the discomfort you experience.

Exploration, experimentation, and the inherent risks of trying new things

Coaching means that you’ll be trying new behaviors and approaches, testing to see the results, but not all will be successful the first time around. Part of the learning that takes place includes exploration of different solutions; experimentation helps identifying what doesn’t work as well as what does prove effective. You need the courage and willingness to get up and try again. As Brenda Steinberg notes in her HBR article “Are You Ready to Be Coached?” experimentation is an important part of the process, as are the risks that go with it.

Increasing self-awareness and understanding your own behavior

Many people enter coaching engagements to increase their self-awareness and improve their interpersonal skills. Self-awareness is fundamental to any lasting change as is a willingness to learn about the drivers behind behavior. A coach will help you peel off the polished mask that conceals the motivations that determine your actions. Applying the lessons learned from revealed truths also demands a sense of responsibility and willingness to be accountable.

Pair self-discipline with reflection

Self-discipline means staying the course even when it feels uncomfortable, being vulnerable enough to be teachable, and making the effort needed to build new—and more effective— routines and habits of behavior. It could mean setting new boundaries and delegating tasks you once automatically handled. Coaching involves moving from A to B; understanding where you are today and each stage along that progression requires reflection on what you are learning. The best and most successful coaching experiences occur when participants are prepared to participate and committed to cultivating the flexibility to change and self-disciplined enough to forge ahead.

Coaching helps you gain a new sense of perspective that leads to action and change. An executive coach asks questions that challenge assumptions, and that help you clarify goals and values; questions that reframe issues, help you plan courses of action. In a coaching relationship you receive vital feedback and have the opportunity for guided behavioral practice. The coaching relationship provides a safe place for open and honest discussion in a neutral, objective setting, a space where you can pause, think, and establish a plan.

Like any investment, it’s important to discern whether the timing is right for you to get the most out of the coaching experience. As Lillian Valdez points out, certain mindsets and attitudes interfere with attaining the full benefit of coaching and others help a person capture the full value of being coached. Prepare yourself with a warm-up stretch to evaluate your readiness, then hit your stride with the right executive coach. Take time to find the right fit; at RoundTable Consulting, we like to begin with a free consultation to gain a sense of how we could work together to accomplish your goals. Connect with me or give me a call to start the conversation.

My focus this fall is on helping people to stop spending time with people who don’t deserve their time, so they can better manage themselves and their teams. Is this you? Do you know anyone who could use this kind of help? I am currently interviewing for 1 or 2 client openings. Come discover what’s possible with me! Click here and let’s get the conversation started.


Nancy Owsianowski is the Founder of RoundTable Consulting where her relational, insightful approach transforms teams, leaders, and organizations.