Considering what they make, it's hard to feel entirely sorry for executives, but now that I've interviewed 10 of them for this Leadership Agenda series, I do find that there are tough parts to their jobs. Chief among them, I think, is loneliness. They are around people all the time, but the people they are near physically -- fellow denizens on executive row in their companies, customers, industries colleagues, competitors, are not people they can turn to for advice or comfort.
Many executives understand this -- and it's interesting to see what they do to cope.
Some of them belong to organizations -- there are networks of executives who form small groups that meet regularly. These are peers who can discuss business problems with each other that they can't discuss with people in their own companies. Some of them build friendships through groups like Greater Philadelphia Senior Executive Group, GPSEG, a group dedicated to networking and career building on the executive level. (It also helps senior executives who have been booted find a new life).
On Wednesday, Lars Bjork, chief executive of Qlik Technologies Inc., will be the speaker at GPSEG's Fall Regional Business Outlook event. (Click here to sign up.) When I interviewed him for the Leadership Agenda interview in Monday's Inquirer, I asked him how he handles that isolation at the top.