I am often complimented (or accused) of linking situations, circumstances, or services that don’t have any direct relationship with one another and suggesting that there is something to be learned from the comparison. So, is equating backup cameras (now mandatory in all American-made cars) to CEO peer advisory groups far-fetched? Let’s take a look.
“The 1956 Buick Centurion concept car, unveiled at the General Motors Motorama in January 1956, was the first vehicle to feature a reverse camera that allowed its driver to see behind the car without having to turn around and physically look backward. Designers were so confident in the rearview camera that there were no mirrors on the car. The Centurion also featured a bubble roof and cockpit, offering unobstructed views all around.
“It wasn’t until 1991, when a backup camera was mounted on the rear spoiler of the Japanese-market-only Toyota Soarer coupe, that a production car came equipped with the rearview feature. It took another 11 years before a vehicle with backup tech was available in the U.S., and that car—the 2002 Infiniti Q45 sedan—also came from a Japanese automaker.
“Even without the federal mandate, some manufacturers—Acura, Buick, Honda, and Infiniti—were already making them standard as early as 2015. Ford, Nissan, and Toyota soon followed, also prior to the 2018 deadline” (Back-up camera info from Jeff Peek, Haggerty Media, October 2021).
CEO Peer Advisory Groups
Whether you look back to Benjamin Franklin’s Junto, mastermind groups described in Napoleon Hill’s book Think and Grow Rich (1937), or TEC groups started by Bob Nourse in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (1957), suffice it to say that such groups were operational, but similar to the backup camera, not always available or appreciated at scale.
The peer advisory group serves as a human technology that allows CEOs to expand their vision, identify and remove blind spots, and see around corners. Spending time with people outside of their company and industry sector, who share the common challenge of what it takes to be an effective CEO, can help them be better leaders and decision-makers.
The Effect of Back-up Cameras
According to the Law Offices of Scott Dinsmore, APC, “Findings by the Insurance Information Institute indicate backup cameras reduce collisions by 16 percent (with a significant reduction in backup accidents involving drivers over the age of 70). However, data from the NHTSA shows injuries from backup accidents fell by only 8% between 2008 and 2011. But while injuries from backup accidents were not significantly reduced, the study showed that fatalities from backup accidents fell by 31% during the same period.
“The problem is that while the rearview cameras provide better visibility, a lot of backup accidents are simply the result of distracted driving — drivers failing to check their rearview camera, rearview mirrors, or turning to look behind them before backing up. The most effective backup accident prevention systems combine rearview mirrors with automatic rear braking when objects get too close.”
Peer Advisory Group Efficacy
Being in a peer advisory group does not guarantee success. CEOs who show up to the meetings and are unwilling or don’t understand how to leverage their fellow members’ intellectual and emotional capital will never enjoy the full benefits. It takes commitment, practice, and understanding what being a good contributing member is all about.
Talk to anyone who bought a car for the first time that features a backup camera. It takes time to become comfortable with it, but you can’t live without it once you do. Joining a peer advisory group requires the same onboarding period. If you’ve never been part of such a group, you may find it challenging at first to integrate its benefits seamlessly into your life. You’ll see it as novel but extraneous – not unlike the driver first using the backup camera and coordinating it with the review mirror, side mirrors, sensors, etc.
Once you become accustomed to it though, you’ll never go back. Most people I know who have successfully integrated the backup camera and/or their peer advisory group into the wheelhouse of their lives would never go back (pun intended) to being without it.
While I am not suggesting a CEO peer advisory group mandate, as imposed for backup cameras in 2018, I recommend that any CEO reading this article should seriously consider it if you’re not part of a group now. Find the best group for you with the same care you choose your next backup camera-equipped passenger vehicle. Be sure you can self-identify with it, that it meets your needs, and that it will keep you, your fellow members, employees, and family safe well into the future. Enjoy your expanded view.