For the past two months, we’ve invited 20 CEOs to our breakfast roundtable sessions with each one focussing on a business problem.

Our first session in the series was held at the Riding House Cafe in London, discussing the challenges and successes companies face around attracting and retaining talent, and the second at Duck and Waffle on the 42nd floor of the Heron Tower, covering the pressures of being lonely at the top of a business. Both events have been fascinating to see how each of the CEOs approached the various challenges they are facing in their business, which are all unique to a degree but also relatable for all. The overwhelming feeling was that the challenges businesses face transcend industries.

What are the breakfast roundtables?

The purpose of the roundtable series is to bring together a mix of CEOs to discuss pertinent business topics and, in particular, pain points that CEOs face when trying to grow their business.

The sessions are designed to foster a stimulating conversation around the key issues we all face and draw on the experiences of each CEO in the room. Having a more informal breakfast event is the perfect environment for open and honest discussion.

Attracting and retaining talent

Attracting and retaining top talent is always near the top of the list of challenges on business leader surveys. Additionally, when we speak with CEOs it is a topic that continually rears its head, so it made sense to make this the topic of our first session.

It was a great success with flowing conversation and really interesting responses. The discussion moved from creating a good workplace culture to improving the hiring processes, and from gaining a better understanding of employees to a more radical idea that marketing should take over hiring from HR to make it more appealing.

At the session, we had SynergyMode advisors Paddy Herridge, Julie Barber and Amanda Brock to provide their unique insight to the CEOs.

On the topic, here’s what Paddy had to say:

“I think one of the most important things when it comes to retaining staff is creating a culture and processes that gives staff a sense of ownership and control over their careers. Whether that’s giving them choices over the location of where they’re working or how they work with clients, even where they sit in the office.”

Being lonely at the top (Skyscraper Syndrome)

Our second breakfast event focused on the business problems associated with the isolation that comes with being a leader in a business, which we’ve written about previously. The topics we covered included management bias, tunnel vision, making big and critical decisions under pressure, and having little or no time to reflect. As with the first event, the breakfast sparked some great discussion points and debate as each CEO shared their challenges, experiences and various war stories.

SynergyMode advisors David Wilkinson, Ed Jones and Stephen Hyde joined us for this discussion.

One of the key talking points in this session was tunnel vision, as a lot of our CEOs found this to be one of their big business problems. Here’s what our advisor Stephen had to say:

“I think the tunnel vision concept is an interesting one in terms of good and bad, but a lot of it is about business planning and where is it you want that tunnel to be leading to … the challenge is for you as a leader to communicate where you’re going and to keep focus on that”

Join the debate

Our aim is to bring like-minded peers together, along with our advisors, to have an engaging discussion so that all attendees leave the breakfast feeling more informed, with some good ideas to take forward and implement in their own business.

Our CEO, James Segal, outlines the value of the breakfast events: “It’s really great to get a load of different people around a table, talking about key topics from different perspectives.”

“The reason we set up this CEO breakfast roundtable series is to help companies tackle the big issues CEOs face on the journey of growing their business. And that’s what SynergyMode does. We help businesses navigate the ups and downs of business, and, hopefully, there are more ups than downs but downs certainly do exist.”

If you want to get involved and join in the discussions, join our next CEO breakfast event on Wednesday 22nd January, send an email to to RSVP.

Follow our LinkedIn page for all the latest information on our upcoming events here.