Executive Session

The purpose of the executive session is to have members share with one another the issues, challenges, opportunities, etc. with which they are dealing – and to get suggestions based on the experience of their peer group. In this way we work as a think tank to bring the best ideas to a given situation. It is the responsibility of each member to put the topic on the table and to carry through with whatever action s/he thinks is appropriate.

Guidelines for a Topic:

  • It should be SIGNIFICANT. Consider who you are talking with and what benefits you can get from the power of this group.
  • Consider STRATEGIC issues more than tactical ones. Even if it appears to be an immediate or short-term situation, the group can help you also look at the bigger picture, longer term.
  • Consider both BUSINESS and PERSONAL topics. You are more than the work you do and from time to time may have significant and strategic issues you’re dealing with in many dimensions of your life. This is a place to bring your whole self and be supported.
  • You should be OPEN TO SUGGESTIONS. Even if you’ve already thought it through and believe you know just what to do, realize that the perspectives and experiences of your peers may provide you with new insights. Remember, we are helping each other make better decisions – so this is a place to come to get your answers questioned.
  • You must have a COMMITMENT TO ACTION. If you determine a course of action, you must have the desire and ability to carry it out. Any concerns you have in this area should be discussed as a part of the topic.


Each member who has a topic(s) they want to share with the group, should write that topic on the agenda sign-in sheet before the meeting. This should include your name, the topic, the estimated time to discuss, and the priority level.
Determine the priority level of your topic – we’ll use the following as a guideline:

A = Important and urgent – “I need help with this one today!”
B = Important – “I’d like to discuss if time today, but it can wait and/or I have other resources that are sufficient to help me with this one.”
C = Important – “I’d like you to know what I’m working on and maybe toss around a few ideas. OK if we don’t get to it formally today.”


  • The member will describe the situation, including relevant and necessary context, in a 3 – 5 minute time frame. This should include clarification of what the member believes would be an ideal outcome and what s/he wants from the group. (See Vistage Topics Worksheet.)
  • Other members and the chair will ask questions to gain further clarity about the topic. These are to be questions seeking clarity and checking assumptions, not disguising judgment or advice.
  • Other members and the chair will offer suggestions based on own experience.
  • Chair will ask member to identify key points s/he heard and determine course of action. Action will be written on Personal Action Summary form with a copy to chair.
  • A digital recording of specific topic discussion will be made at the member’s request.  After the meeting, that recording will be out in the member’s confidential DropBox.
  • At a designated future meeting, member will provide update status regarding actions taken.