Peer groups are the rage in business today. They are the best tool a business owner can leverage to get relevant insight and understand what ‘good’ really looks like. Lots of options exist and many people are spending significant resources of time, money, and brain capital to participate. Is it worthwhile? At HTG, we believe it has the potential to be the most impactful thing that people can participate in. But the value is very dependent on folks doing a great job as peer coaches. In fact, if groups fail at that core level, it quickly loses value and causes consideration of whether it is a worthwhile investment or not.
Again, this is where HTG differentiates ourselves with our facilitators. The essence of peer coaching is providing feedback. Most effectively, this comes from the experience of those in the room. But beyond advice, the value quickly moves to a culture of execution and accountability that are generally core to most peer groups. Most business owners are in that seat because they want to be their own boss. That’s a good thing, but it also gives most a pass on actually doing the things they need to, not only what they want to.
It is goal setting with accountability that typically is the biggest value a peer group provides.
Of course, the other side of the coin is a willingness to receive feedback. The primary challenge you face is to remain open and manage your natural tendency to be defensive in reacting to feedback — information about your actions and their consequences — that is in some way inconsistent with how you currently view yourself. Getting effective at both giving and receiving peer coaching requires practice. Very few people are naturally gifted in this essential skill. It is much easier to dish out advice and feedback than it is to quietly listen and receive it. But the peer member that maximizes participation learns to do both – giving solid, experience-based, wise feedback to the other members in the group while also listening intently, recording ideas, and acting on the feedback they receive. We understand these challenges and walk with our members.
Sharing feedback is good, but without execution it is a waste of everyone’s time. The real secret to gaining value from your peers is to sort through the feedback, identify at least one important action item to execute, and then making that a focus over the next quarter. You have to just get things done!
We’re excited to be working closely with Continuum on some new peer to peer offerings that will be coming soon. We believe deeply in the power of peers at HTG, and we’re committed to helping drive peer to peer interaction as deep and wide as possible to help others receive the positive impact that working closely with a peer group provides.
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