Posted by: edstillman | November 6, 2014

Choosing Vistage: Why Verses Who

When someone asks me WHY Vistage is the best place for them, there are a lot of ways I can answer. But honestly, it’s not my reason that matters. Each leader should know what they are looking for, or at least accept that they don’t know what they don’t know. So what I can answer is WHO seems to really appreciate the value of the membership and sticks around a long time. Then it’s up to the individual to know themselves.

It’s probably not who you think.

Successful members don’t normally join when they’ve hit hard times, or have lost their way. On the contrary, it’s a good CEO who wants to be GREAT, who shows up ready to contribute and listen. It’s a GREAT leader who asks how he or she can build up their team and let go of the details. And THEN, when there is a downturn or a bump in the road, it’s the BEST of business owners who realizes this is the group they can’t give up now, because they really can benefit from peer support when the challenges start piling up.

But this is just one answer. An essential part of the Vistage experience is the wealth of knowledge at our fingertips as Chairs. We can find resources and experts to help our members. And with that… I share with you a list of ideas on GREAT CEOs from other Vistage chairs and members. Plus, there are always video testimonials from other members.

Are You A Great CEO? What Do You Think?, by Mary Lore

Three Distinct Advantages of Vistage, by Pete Hayes

Optimisim is a Great Motivator, by Vince Langley

Failure is Your Friend, by Cheryl McMillan 

Posted by: edstillman | September 12, 2014

Leadership 101

In reading the Austin Statesman newspaper over the past few days and listening to my talk radio show 590am about the Ray Rice story during my drive time, I can’t help but think that there is a teaching opportunity for us all.


As leaders, a parent or a role model, whether you are a CEO, own a business, manage or lead a division, department or team or coaching your children, these 3 fundamentals will always apply.


  1. Set clear expectations
  2. Set clear consequences (rewards & penalties)
  3. Provide a clear path or way of measuring progress


Most of us can easily accomplish #1, it’s the 2nd and 3rd ones that after the fact was answered with excuses or it’s not my fault that causes us concern.


  1. Set measurable expectations; by when time sensitive goals and finish your discussion with “…can I count on you”
  2. Be crystal clear on the rewards and penalties. It’s the down side that always brings us grief. Was with a CEO member client this week and when asked about what were the individual compensation consequences for not meeting 2014 stated plan, he said his team was still expecting their bonuses and he was not looking forward to that conversation.
  3. In creating a clear path to measure progress, I am comfortable working backwards from the due date of the objective, task or project.
    1. Breaking down day, weeks, month, quarter or key steps is important
    2. What are the due diligence (right behavior), gates, triggers (must be validated to go to the next step) that need to be done along the way for meeting the stated expectations
    3. Check-in, status, weekly meetings – individually or the team can pitch in if any part of the process is behind or breaking down before it becomes a problem – which suggests collaborated communication if a group, team or tribe.


None of us like surprises and last minute “…I didn’t get around to it or it’s not finished” can drive me to the dark side over and over again.


So would the Ray Rice story be a story if the NFL had a clear set of guidelines, rules for this offense with the 3 leadership fundamentals in place?

Posted by: edstillman | August 8, 2014


Alok Kalia MD brings 40 years of medical experience to Austin in his “Thinking about Food and Eating in a Different Way” workshop. He promises me that we will have more “ah” moments in 2 1/2 hours than we have had in the past 5 years. As a business owner, whatever we tolerate, in any organization, will soon become the policy of the organization. Your take-aways will be “Health & Wellness” direction for life for you, your  employees and your extended family. What better gift could we give to each other. Please invite your spouse,  set aside a morning on August 20th or 21st and be our guest. Dr. Kalia limits his annual Vistage talks to 50 so once again, we have a BOB (Best of Best) in front of us. This is a FREE workshop for business owners, presidents and CEO’s.

I have lived in Austin for 25 years, retired 3M’er, and a Vistage Chair since 2006.  I facilitate 3 Austin C-level advisory peer groups that meet monthly for the sole purpose of becoming better leaders, making better decisions and growing our revenue and profits. Space is limited so please RSVP.

Thank you and have a family filled “fun” weekend.

Ed Stillman

Austin Chair

(Mobile and Text) 512.422.6232

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