The power of peers. When peers of equal standing get together in a safe and confidential environment it’s amazing what can happen. This was the case yesterday at the launch of the Family Business Forum in Ballinasloe when parents from family businesses around the country gathered to discuss their challenges, share their experience, and offer advice and support to help each another.
I had the pleasure of starting this group in a joint venture with Kevin Fahey from Essence of Leadership who runs similar forums to my Power of Seven. Kevin was a joy to work with and our different approaches complimented each other extremely well.
The quality of listening and the degree of openness at the meeting was astounding. It just shows when people come together with similar situations in common how they can be of support to each other. One of the members commented many times how similar the challenges were. Another realised the difference in her quality of listening at the forum and when she is back at her company. There was husband and wife teams which made for interesting dynamics and I’m sure interesting discussions on the journey home! I’d imagine these couples heard each other talk about things they hadn’t discussed themselves before (at least not in the same way).
Here were a few insights/learning mentioned at the close of the day:
Involve others by getting their opinions
I plan to work more with my people
I will acknowledge others contributions more
I will discuss challenges with my staff more
I developed more self- awareness and understand where others are coming from
I plan to listen more to others viewpoints and not just walk away
I’m not going to bottle stuff up but bring out in the open
The group starts to formally meet on Monday 31st March and every two months thereafter. If you would like an invitation to join then please contact me ASAP. There are only four places left and we anticipate they will go fast. Note: this group is specifically for parents in a family business. If you are interested in a Power of Seven group for business owners then make contact to discuss interest in a new group starting next month.
Why I feature this article is the similarity it has with the Power of Seven concept and the benefits we can gain from spending quality well facilitated time with peers.
Interesting article on LinkedIn Pulse by Douglas Conant Chairman, Avon Products; Founder, ConantLeadership; Chairman, KELI; Former President, CEO & Director Campbell Soup. Mr Conant talks about his attendance at the CECP’s Board of Boards CEO Roundtable which offers a unique opportunity for learning and growth for CEOs. Forbes has recognized the event as one of the Top 15 Conferences for Meeting Influencers and Innovators, alongside World Economic Forum and Clinton Global Initiative. He says in the article
As corporate leaders, we have a responsibility to represent all of our stakeholders in the most enlightened way possible. This means meaningfully promoting the interests of our employees, customers, consumers, and communities, as well as the needs of our shareholders. It is not an easy job. But it is an important one. We have an obligation to lead our organizations in the most holistic way we can. One of the most effective ways to develop an enlightened perspective is to learn from others.
You can read the full article here. But here is a condensed version of the five reasons that Mr Conant found the Board of Boards CEO Roundtable experience so valuable:
When I went to source a coach some years ago I found it really difficult. My big obstacle was finding the right one who had the necessary expertise for the various areas I wanted to work on. Other big questions I had were:
All these questions prevented me from finding someone. I felt very uncomfortable especially considering I believed in the benefits of coaching and I was even starting to coach some of my clients one to one.
The solution came along accidentally! I started a peer group for some of my clients and a few others. It was called ‘Leaders in Learning’ with the concept that we would meet for half a day every two months to share and learn from each other and help solve each others problems. That was over eight years ago. The group is still together today. After two years I was asked to become a member of the group as opposed to the facilitator.
I find it an excellent forum for expressing challenges that I’m stuck on, can’t see the wood for the trees, or just feel I could benefit from articulating a problem I want to get some feedback or advice on. What’s most interesting is that there are always different perspectives to be heard.
It’s like having seven other coaches in the room as opposed to one.
This group inspired me to launch other groups which I would assemble and facilitate professionally. There have been many over the years.
I named it the Power of Seven – Business Owners Peer Groups
This peer coaching is the most impactful form of coaching I have ever seen. When seven others are giving you feedback for no other reason that they want to help you, when you hear from others whom you respect because they own and run their own businesses, when you hear from others with similar experiences to yours and what they would do differently – you listen and you act, and you follow through. It helps to know that you’re going to be accountable to your peers when you meet them in two months time!
I have witnessed numerous cases where people have made radical changes in their business and lives. We don’t only work on members business, we take a balanced perspective, we look at ‘My Business’, ‘My Family’ and ‘My Self’. The view being that good performance in these three areas results in overall satisfaction, overall success. The meetings have a clearly defined structure and agenda and various processes that are used to achieve different aims. One example is a process we use to update each other since the last meeting. We fill in a one page form in advance of the meeting scoring ourselves on each of the three areas mentioned above, we also answer questions on these areas and identify one or two issues we’d like to get support on from the rest of the group. We then have a selection of other processes to use on addressing these issues.
The groups are carefully assembled. Each member is individually interviewed to understand their needs and levels of experience, attitude, personality, etc. I then do my ‘Willie Daly’ (of Lisdoonvarna fame) magic and invite the members I think will work best together.
Totally Confidential. Everyone signs a confidentiality agreement at the first meeting. The success of the group is dependent on trust and respect. Members are reminded at the beginning and end of every meeting that confidentiality is sacred.
A fraction of the cost of 1:1 coaching. You pay a membership for the year. You have the support of six others plus me the facilitator not just at the meetings but also in between by telephone and email. Quite often members will visit one anothers businesses to learn more and have a chat. The facilitators costs are shared by seven as opposed to a 1:1 cost.
1. Express an interest
2. Meet in person with me to access suitability, needs, etc.
3. Invited to a group most suitable for you for a brief chat and coffee to meet the others.
4. I get feedback from everyone on their first impressions.
5. Opt in to attend the first no obligation FREE meeting.
6. Opt in to joining the group for 12 months.
7. Review annually commitment to group for the following twelve months.
“The benefits revolve around the people in the group and the deep bond and level of trust that has manifested itself. This has created the platform for sharing real experiences and knowledge in a remarkable way”
Note: It is not being suggested here that peer groups are better than 1:1 coaching. They have different roles and can complement each other. Indeed many of my Power of Seven group members opt for 1:1 coaching in parallel with the peer groups.
Take less than 10 mins to watch this hugely insightful video that could help you radically change your culture.
Most business leaders want to change/improve their culture, but they don’t know how. The simple message in this video tells us to stop ordering, instead give control to your staff and create great leaders.
Our job as leaders and managers is to coach others to be great leaders and managers. This is the only way we will move ‘one rung up the ladder’ (as I call it). Imagine everyone in your business was to move one rung up the ladder? you as the business leader could then (to use what is now a cliche) start to work ‘ON’ your business more than ‘IN’ your business. You can begin to get your business working for you as opposed to you working for your business. Surely this is your goal!
Key messages in this video:
* Stop Ordering, Give Control – Create Leaders
* It’s all about Intent. Build Physiological Ownership
* The Two Key Pillars are Competence & Organisational Clarity
* Build a business where people are Thinking, Active, Passionate, Creative, Proactive and Taking Initiative
* Move authority to where the Information is
* It starts with YOU. It’s not easy but it is worth it!
I gave a workshop to NUIG Executive MBA’ers last week called Powerful Conversations.
Obviously I did some research in advance which included an article from Harvard Business Review called ‘Leadership Is A Conversation‘ by Boris Groysberg and Michael Slind. Here are a few of the nuggets from the article:
What Groysberg and Slind didn’t emphasise is what I believe to be the KEY to powerful conversations – A Powerful Question.
So what makes a question powerful?
How we word the question is critical. Here’s a hierarchy of the first word you might use:
How could we have the conversation we are not having?What might DNA look like in 3D format?What could a good school also be?How might our staff be enthusiastically engaged in our strategic programmes?How do we have better conversations?
What Powerful Conversation do you need to have, and what’s your question?
Contact me if you need some help.
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