Blog 9: PEO Involvement – Peer Feedback

As a CFO, Tugman became a board member and Toronto chapter president for Financial Executives International Canada. This experience allowed him to realize the value of organizations like PEO.  “I was open to the idea of peer networking, where members challenge what you are doing. FEI created a space where the more you put into group meetings, the more you got out of them. Alternatively, PEO facilitates a core group of individuals getting together on a regular basis to understand your business.” His familiarity allowed him to become comfortable with the idea of accepting feedback.

“Obviously, we all read about how to give feedback to our employees and peers and there are ground rules that must be adhered to. Not all feedback is meant to be positive. However, it must be properly given. I think PEO is pretty good at establishing principles around candor.” Tugman has always made himself open to feedback and understanding. However, as a CEO, he feels that it is “difficult” to create an open organization where subordinates “react honestly.”

“The value that PEO brings is that members around the table don’t have the same restrictions regarding feedback, as long as you are relatively open about what you are doing with your organization and what the issues are.” He stresses that the process goes both ways and the importance of not only discussing the rosy aspects of a business, which might prevent a valuable response.  “PEO deals with the business side of things, but the group is also open to discussions about personal objectives and challenges, allowing participants to gain perspective on those matters too. You also get feedback in terms of whether or not you are able to contribute to other people’s issues and in what fashion and form.”

He has seen the benefit of long-term participation “It’s not so much what one individual says but what a number of individuals say over a period of time. The information I get allows me to go right to the heart of what the issue is and helps me deal with the core concerns. It reinforces my understanding of the matter is and allows me to identify value.”  This process has been helpful for Tugman when reinventing himself beyond being CEO, a board member and when working in other organizations. “It’s a skill that you need to have in the boardroom.”

“It’s a good place for a CEO to be. It provides a great opportunity for somebody who wants to move beyond being a CEO by becoming a board member; whether it is with a traditional corporation or with other organizations.”