Why would I want to belong to an executive peer network?
While members will sometimes come away from a network meeting with a totally novel insight, this is not an expectation. We work with sophisticated executives, and it is rare that conversations will reveal a blind spot that a member hasn’t been considered before. Instead, our meetings help members to develop a more nuanced understanding of various alternatives – by sharing their experiences and learning from others. We are often less focused on “what,” and more focused on “so what” and “why.”
Who pays for the networks?
With a Sponsored or Conference-Based Network, SkyBridge fees and other network costs are paid by one to three sponsors, typically service providers or vendors who want to support important clients. Annual membership fees for Powered by SkyBridge (PxS) Networks are typically paid by network members’ companies. Network champions who collaborate with SkyBridge to design and launch a PxS network enjoy the first two years fee-free.
Why might I want to sponsor an executive peer network?
If you are like most executives, you probably find that interactions with clients and other important stakeholders are often narrow and transactional. Sponsors usually have limited visibility into clients’ challenges, desires, beliefs, and constraints outside of their work together. Network sponsorship allows you to be a “fly on the wall” as your most important clients and prospects discuss timely, important issues with each other. The ongoing meeting cadence will foster deeper client trust and goodwill, and your firm will enjoy nuanced, proprietary insights into market needs, opportunities, and constraints. Moreover, sponsoring a peer network is a great way to show that you care about your clients—and are committed to supporting them.
How do you convene competitors?
We often work with groups of competitors, and find that there are always important, non-competitive issues for executives to discuss. As independent meeting leaders, we can explore executives’ individual challenges one-on-one, then design a meeting agenda that steers clear of sensitive topics.
You aren’t subject matter experts in my industry. Does that matter?
Not at all. These aren’t seminars, and we don’t pretend to deliver content ourselves. In many cases, the network members and sponsors are the true subject matter experts. However, a skilled, courageous discussion leader with broad experiences will outperform a specialist most of the time. To be clear, we’re not advocating “content-lite” facilitation; it’s important to be a quick study, and to do enough homework to help our members lean into the right questions. Still, a generalist mindset can be helpful, as experts are often blind to possibilities that fall outside the narrow confines of their professional box.
Are you just facilitators?
No, although facilitation is of course one of many tools we draw on. As network designers and leaders, we also need to solicit input, listen carefully, synthesize and analyze ideas, design agendas, write clearly, find the “so what” in an issue, build trust, recognize patterns, think creatively, engage participants, and overcome objections.
What is your expertise?
We are skilled at designing and leading distinctive executive-level conversations, and enhancing trust within a community of executives over time. As one executive told us, “your efforts helped form relationships which previously for the most part were rivalries.” We take pride in quality and durability of the relationships that are forged through our networks. This doesn’t just happen by chance.
How do you encourage candor?
We know that candid discussion can feel risky, and we work hard to support open, trusting dialogue. Clear confidentiality principles help network members to speak freely without worrying that comments will be shared outside the group. Our networks follow a modified version of the Chatham House Rule, which states that participants are free to use any information received, without attributing comments to individuals or their organizations.
I am invited to networking events all the time. Why is SkyBridge different?
We’re about networks, not networking. Trust, not transactions. And conversations, not conferences. Executives don’t just attend events; rather, they belong to select groups whose members meet several times a year for discussions they can’t have anywhere else. And, unlike some firms that cater primarily to entrepreneurs and small business owners, we design our networks around the needs of executives—and the firms who serve them.
How much time should I allocate to a network?
We recognize that our members and sponsors are busy, and strive to make good use of their time. We speak with network members before every meeting, and offer debrief calls for members who are unable to attend. The meetings themselves are usually two to three hours. Sponsored Network meetings are typically followed by dinner. On average, most members will spend less than an hour a month on network activities. Executives who champion new PxS networks will invest an average of 10 minutes a day during the design and launch phase.
Why is your firm called “SkyBridge”?
The bridge metaphor represents an important part of who we are. We build (virtual) bridges between people, ideas, and outcomes. And bridges take people and groups from where they are to where they want to be.