insight  business growth

Central Coast CEO/Presidents’ Group

Introduction and Purpose

The overarching purpose for members of this group is to “Become more effective leaders and maintain a balanced life!”

This group was founded in 2006 and is designed specifically for those business leaders on the Central Coast of California who own or run medium-sized businesses. Nearly all members of this group own all or a portion of the businesses they lead. Many have founded or purchased their companies and are intent on improving their leadership skills in order to grow the company.

We call this group The Insight Group. This group meets together on a monthly basis in a confidential setting to provide information, support, accountability, and colleagueship. It is not a networking group. Members must be committed to improving their businesses and growing personally and professionally. This group is facilitated by seasoned business coach, Dr. Ed Cox. In addition to the monthly full-day group meetings, private one-to-one coaching is included every month for additional insight, accountability and support.

A Note From Ed

My professional purpose in leading The Insight Group is to help increase the economic vitality of the Central Coast region of California where I live. I want the families who live here to be able to remain here over the generations, with a stable, vibrant economy. I can do my small share of this by working with people who run successful local companies so they can continue to grow and thrive and strengthen our local economy. The ripple effects of all this means that employees, suppliers, and customers all benefit from the strong fabric of the community. Because my bandwidth is limited, it is essential that I am very selective in the leaders I choose for The Insight Group.

Advisory Board

The Insight Group functions for most members as an advisory board of knowledgeable, trusted fellow leaders who have each other’s best interest at heart. The experience that other seasoned CEOs and presidents can bring to bear on any member’s particular situation becomes immense. Not only does this experience come from time running a business, it comes from a wide variety of industries. Imagine a precision device manufacturer getting one of his best ideas of the year from a greenhouse lettuce grower! One member called The Insight Group his “experience multiplier.”

Members’ Common Traits

Although every member represents a different industry (to avoid any competition within the group), they all have several things in common. All are intent on learning to be better leaders, all are committed to helping each other, and all are people who follow-through on commitments. In addition, all of our current group members are committed to high quality products and services, creating productive, safe, and enjoyable work environments, and to leading balanced lives. This combination typically generates very healthy profits.

The Insight Group requires members to be honest with each other about their strengths as well as their concerns and their developmental needs. It’s a place where we can be totally honest with each other without having to worry about “image.”

Primary Benefits

This group features six primary benefits. The Insight Group is a place where members can:

1. Hold ourselves and each other accountable. When we make commitments to each other in a group setting, we are far more likely to meet those commitments. Without an accountability group, we often allow countless other “urgent” matters to intrude and we often avoid doing the “important” things.

2. Make better decisions. When we have a group of trusted peers, many with years of experience beyond our own, and we can try out our ideas with each other and learn about important ideas and resources, we make better, more confident decisions.

3. Anticipate and deal with change. We must be prepared to respond to the constantly changing environment. We must also look at our own assumptions about the way we have always done things to see how we can make our businesses and our lives more effective and more balanced; it’s a way to stay up-to-date and relevant.

4. Experience personal and professional growth. We obtain input from invited experts, from other group members, and with the commitment to stretch ourselves beyond our comfort zones we can become better at what we do personally and professionally.

5. Find a refuge from isolation. Feeling alone is a significant problem for many business owners, and this group provides strong connections to trusted peers on a regular monthly basis and via connections throughout the month.

6. Learn in an atmosphere of fun. The best learning takes place when people are enjoying the process and having a good time. Humor is encouraged and nurtured.

Ideal Members

Our ideal Insight Group members are committed to growing both their businesses and themselves; they are excited about the opportunity to stretch themselves beyond their comfort zones in order to accomplish things they could not achieve before.  They are dedicated to achieving a balanced life, with interests outside the business.

They appreciate the knowledge and strength other members can bring and are eager to learn from them. They have the courage to try new things in order to improve themselves as professionals and as a people. They are committed to being at Insight Group meetings and take pleasure in helping their peers by sharing their knowledge, observations and experiences.

They care deeply about their businesses, their employees, the community, and the positive impact their contributions can make.

They want to be connected to a community of other business leaders in a safe, respectful, heart-felt way that allows exploration of tough and sensitive issues.

They are looking forward to celebrating their own successes and those of others.

They do not always take themselves too seriously; they can laugh at themselves occasionally.

The demographic characteristics of ideal members include:

  • An already successful business owner, living on the Central Coast with a business that may extend regionally, nationally, or internationally;
  • Between 15 and 400 employees;
  • The business provides products or services that enhance people’s lives, directly or indirectly.


Member Selection Process

Membership is by invitation only. Candidates are interviewed and selected by Ed Cox. The group does not have members who are competitors or major customers or suppliers of another group member. This helps ensure confidentiality and allows total free-flow of information.

Group Size

The ideal size of the group is 12-14 committed CEOs and Presidents who can attend regularly. This allows for a wide range of expertise in the room and will always provide a solid number of people for meetings even when some members must be away for travel.


The group meets once per month, for a full business day beginning at 7:30 a.m. on the third Tuesday of the month. These meetings are scheduled a year in advance.

The group meetings are structured to ensure maximum effectiveness. Expertise from within the group as well as guest resource presenters from outside the group are invited to contribute. In addition, members are invited to present issues, opportunities, and special topics to the group. These issues are explored in a way that gives the member maximum insight and provides suggestions from the other members.

When we have certain topics, members are encouraged to invite their key employees to attend the presentation portion of the day.

In addition to the group meetings, one-to-one meetings with Ed Cox are an important part of this program, with monthly one-to-one meetings lasting 90 to 120 minutes. The purpose of these private meetings is to provide additional support, accountability, and to help the member identify and clarify issues and opportunities that can be brought to the larger group for feedback.

Periodic goal-setting meetings are a part of this group meeting process to allow members to present their goals and progress towards them. The group can provide ideas and suggestions to help members stay on track with their goals.

 Location of Meetings

Members host the group meetings at their companies or in nearby conference facilities. The “host” for each meeting rotates among members, and the host provides an in-depth description of his/her business. Over time, we have a thorough understanding of each member’s business, his or her issues, opportunities and goals. Members become fiercely supportive of each other. Member companies are located in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties.

Dues and Enrollment Fee

Monthly dues cover professional facilitation of group meetings and private one-to-one meetings with Ed Cox. Dues are paid via monthly automatic credit card payments. A one-time enrollment fee equal to one-month’s dues is charged when a new member is invited to enroll.

About Ed Cox

Ed Cox was a group chair with Vistage International, the world’s leading chief executive organization ( for more than ten years. Ed also leads a group of independent professionals in “The Tree House Group” in San Luis Obispo County. Ed also coaches privately a very limited number of motivated business leaders.
Ed was the president and CEO of a graduate school for 19 years, as well as a consultant for family-owned businesses with the Doud-Hausner Consulting firm in Glendale, California.

Ed earned a bachelor’s degree from UCLA in economics and a Ph.D. from USC in behavioral science. He has a business management certificate from the Anderson School at UCLA. Additionally, Ed has worked across the U.S. with countless family businesses over the past 25 years, helping them to successfully transition from one generation to the next.
Ed’s professional purpose is to help create the context for people and their businesses to be their very best.

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