More than 100 CEOs and other company managers gathered Friday at the Henry Hotel in Dearborn for the CEO Summit sponsored by Vistage Michigan.

Vistage is a CEO group formerly known as The Executive Committee. The organization sponsors small local groups of perhaps a dozen or so CEOs, each from a different industry. They don’t pledge to do business with one another — instead, they pledge total and complete transparency, to let the others in the group confidentially see everything about their businesses. Members brainstorm with their groups to make better business decisions — and those members hold each other accountable to follow through on those decisions.

Friday, the program was Toronto business consultant Sam Geist, author of business books such as “Would You Work For You?,” “Why Would Someone Do Business With You Rather Than Someone Else?” and the most recent “Execute Or Be Executed.”

Geist led the executives through a fast-paced series of exercises to show why mere quality and value are simply the price of admission to today’s business game, and companies must do much more to survive.

Geist said today’s successful businesses tell their customers how to do what they do better before the customer even realizes they need the advice.

They’re also willing to blow up their own business models to anticipate change.

“Netflix went into competition with itself,” Geist noted. “We have to let go of yesterday.”

Change has become the business norm, Geist said, and said that while many executives today embrace change, it’s never easy — quoting Marilyn Ferguson, “It’s not so much that we’re afraid of change or so in love with the old ways, but it’s the place in between we fear — it’s like being between trapezes.”

More about Vistage at


Geist said three big issues plague all of us today — stress, time and trust — and the succesful business will help its customers with all three.



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