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Last Update: Thursday July 29, 2021

Key Idea: Participate in a Powerful Group

Vicky Carlson's has earned her reputation as a leader among equals.

Key Question:


Make yourself accountable to peers you respect.  Vicky could choose not to participate in a dealer group but she is willing to take the time and spend the money to go to meetings and most important, she is willing to take advice.

We said in the opening to the show that the most important ingredient in any person's life is other people. Parents and teachers are key in the formative years and as business owners, we need to spend time with other business owners from whom we can learn.

Vicky Carlson is a member of the Herman Miller Dealer Council. This is the perfect group for Vicky but there may not be anything like this group that you can join. However, you can think about finding some group that will teach and inspire you. This type of learning is called peer-to-peer learning. According to the Edward Lowe Foundation, "A peer network consists of a small group of chief executives who meet regularly in a confidential, supportive environment under the direction of a seasoned facilitator. The group typically ranges from six to 14 participants who operate noncompeting businesses."

We have taped many programs about business owners who tout the groups they depend upon for inside information to solve sticky problems and will mention just a few of the options. If you are under 40 years of age, you can join Young Entrepreneur's Organization. If you are a woman, there is the Women President's Organization. If you have about $1,000 a month and will commit to a year's membership, you can join The Executive Committee, better known as Vistage. The web site of the Edward Lowe Foundation has a group locator and links to articles about peer groups. As a member of a peer group, we believe that the biggest benefit of a powerful peer group is there is no advice given. We only tell our own stories of how we solved or failed to solve a particular problem. This way, you are guaranteed information from the real world.

Look for a group that does not try to sell to each other, one that has a facilitator to keep the discussion on track and one that does not bring in speakers.

Many owners start in business to "do their own thing" and as we succeed, we get arrogant and think we are the only one with the solutions to problems.  How silly to miss out on a flood of experience that is out there to help us.

Think about it

Do you feel alone at the top? Are you in a group that helps you solve problems?

Clip from: Women Shatter Glass

USA: One out of three businesses in this country is owned by a woman.  That's  approximately 9 million businesses.  Yet only one out of ten of those businesses does more than $1 million in annual sales or about 900,000 businesses.

These two statistics prompted the production of this episode. We researched women who do millions in annual sales and found most were in male-dominated industries.

There are many resources to help women start and grow the right kind of business beginning with government agencies like the US SBA and their Small Business Development Centers. There are programs promoted by women-friendly banks, economic development offices, trade associations and industry groups, and women's associations in every state.

With so much help and information around, why do women so often migrate to tiny ideas? ...more inspiration? ... better role models? One of the women studied here asked rhetorically, "Why should I polish nails when I could be polishing steel?"

All business owners can learn valuable lessons from these women. They are the small minority who are making a huge difference in their industry and in their communities.  By moving to the top of the game where there are mostly men, a woman's influence can make the greatest difference.

Office Pavilion, Inc.

Vicky Carlson, CEO, President

6920 Carroll Road
San Diego, CA 92121

Visit our web site:

Office: 8587845200

Business Classification:
Office furnishings

Year Founded: 1980

Participate in a Powerful Group

HATTIE: (Voiceover) Vicky is getting ready for a meeting. She'll be the only woman owner in attendance. She needs to arrive early because she's in charge and she wants everything to run smoothly.

VICKY: This is the run down of the agenda.

HATTIE: (Voiceover) She and her colleagues, other Herman Miller dealership owners, gather twice a year from all over the country to share information.

Unidentified Male #3: (Voiceover) We weren't benchmarking each other. We thought that we could share each other's numbers. We were all doing the same things in different cities and by coming together and benchmarking each other we could improve. That was the basis for the whole organization. We wanted to get better.

VICKY: Peter, thank you for all your hard work.

Unidentified Male #3: You know why did an all male group ask Vicky Carlson to be President. Vicky's one of the guys. I mean let's face it. She's one of the guys and one of the good ones.

Unidentified Male #4: And so you draw upon the best talented people you can find and good leaders are developed and I think she brings a great leadership for us.

Unidentified Male #5: Vicky's a very ambitious woman -- person -- and she's worked very hard. She's involved in a lot of community things. You can just see politically she gets herself around.

VICKY: Nice to meet you. Tommy, nice to meet you.

Unidentified Male #6: Good morning Vicky. How are you?

VICKY: I'm great. How are you doing?

Unidentified Male #5: She's a pro. She's good to her employees. They've got a good sense of what that company is and what its mission is. She's good. She's good. You know if she's the president of this thing, she earned her stripes.

VICKY: I think success breeds success. And I think you surround yourself with successful people, you will be successful. And that's what helps me, is an organization like this. It inspires me. It motivates me. And that has been very helpful to our organization.

Not a member yet? Learn!  Be empowered! Join us!