Early in my career at Hallmark I was labeled a high potential employee. For that I am very grateful, as I was able to take advantage of a number of leadership experiences I might not have been exposed to otherwise. One of the best was a course offered by The Center for Creative Leadership in Greensboro, North Carolina. In that course, we were given an assignment to write the resume of the next leader of the company and persuade everyone else in our small group to hire him or her. It was a great exercise. In thinking through what would appeal to the people in the group and how best to influence them to choose my candidate, I had to put myself in their shoes. As with most things in life, I didn’t take the conventional approach. When it came time to influence the group, I didn’t actively persuade but let them convince themselves. In fact, I didn’t have to say a word and they chose my candidate. As a result, I didn’t get a very good grade even though I got the desired result: my candidate won. But I learned an important lesson. Since then I have found that it is rarely necessary to cajole smart people into doing what makes the most sense; they simply need to be presented with the option.
A Trusted Network of Advisors
C-suite leaders are asked to have the answers, work at top speed, and achieve measurable results. Yet, we are all only human. What if we are wrong? What if there is a better idea?
One of the things smart leaders do these days is have a trusted network of advisors from whom they can get an outside perspective-but how well is it working?
The challenge is in the details. How can we get a like-minded group? How do we establish trust? How should we manage our time commitment effectively? How do we get a good return for our time/money?
Just as in my leadership exercise, it is not an issue of need. In our exercise we knew we needed to hire someone and most leaders understand the desirability of having a network. The challenge is in the details. How can we get a like-minded group? How do we establish trust? How should we manage our time commitment effectively? How do we get a good return for our time/money? Let’s build the perfect scenario starting with the outcome we want.
According to several articles I researched, the top reasons to join a Peer Group are:
- To get experience and insights from people who have been there and done that
- To have a safe zone where we can expressleaders can express self-doubt and challenge our their own assumptions
- To reduce the isolation leaders at the top often feel
- To provide new perspectives or different ways of approaching challenges and opportunities
- To provide accountability for follow through
- To extend your network of connections
- To have more space to think through important topics
- To refill your emotional tank by spending time with equally driven and accountable CEO’s on stimulating topics
- And perhaps most of all, the results. According to a study published by Chief Executive in 2019, peer network members on average experienced 200% faster revenue growth then others in their industries, and were twice as profitable with dramatically superior operating results.
What Gets in the Way of Success?
The challenge is that most peer organizations have requirements that get in the way of meeting these needs. They take time, often a day or two out of the office each month. The network can be limited by the size or the geography of the group. They are often highly structured and managed uniformly regardless of individual needs. They can be expensive at over $1000/month. But what if there was a group that:
- Was a small group but not limited to a physical round table or a certain city, increasing quality of participants
- Represented diverse industries while having a common strategic language so there was a broader range of ideas but an instant connection
- Screened its members for their ability to make a contribution
- Allowed participants to choose the topics of interest for the group
- Let members self-select when to participate
- Enabled members to participate in multiple ways, from wherever they are
- Provided regular proprietary and curated content from others to stretch thinking and stimulate conversations
- Had a trusted and proven facilitator/coach with whom they already had a relationship
- Offered a high value but had no cost; the only price is participation, requesting that the members participate at the level they would like others to, in the manner that suits them best
If such a group was available to you, would you take advantage of it? If yes, let us know. Here at Breakthrough Masters Unlimited we are thinking about these very things, alongside you, and are working on making this theoretical brain trust a reality for like-minded past and present clients!