Five Secrets to Powerful Peer Learning

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has. (Margaret Meade)

We have two choices, we can either travel our learning journey alone or we can travel and learn from and with others. Here’s what a Power of Seven group member says about learning in a group:

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

Key words: Bond & trust.

Secret #1: Bond
noun: a thing used to tie something or to fasten things together. To develop powerful peer learning we need a bond or agreement that sets out rules of engagement, confidentiality (see below), learning attitudes, learning methodologies, etc. So a bond or agreement that everyone signs up to is secret # 1.

Secret #2: Trust & Confidentiality
This is the glue that allows a group to be open & honest knowing that there’s safety and that what get’s said will be held within the group with 100% confidentially. At Power of Seven we use the tried and tested Chatham House Rule: Participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed.
Every member upon joining a group signs an agreement to comply with this rule along with 10 rules of engagement. This agreement also specifies what happens in case of a breach of confidentiality: If confidentiality is broken, trust is irrevocably severed. A breach of confidentiality is considered so serious that the offending person will be asked to leave the group unless s/he can explain their action(s) to the satisfaction of rest of the group and facilitator.

Above: Power of Seven group visited Inishbofin Island recently to engage in some serious work (and play). Glorious weather, great craic was had by all!

Secret #3: Vulnerability

“Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change.”
― Brené Brown

Creating a space where peers feel safe to be vulnerable is critical to deep sharing and learning. How do we do this at Power of Seven? We name it, discuss it, hold it as a quality theme for a meeting occasionally. My job as facilitator is to model it and show vulnerability myself, this is the best way to bring it out in others.

Its learning from each others mistakes that makes it so valuable to me (Po7 member)

Secret #4: Compassionate Challenge
“If a day goes by with being challenged it’s not a good day for me” This is what one of my long standing members said to me some time ago. He said “I’m a entrepreneur, I love challenge, that’s what I live for”. Soon after I introduced a quality theme call ‘compassionate challenge’. This encourages members to challenge each other with the single motive to benefit the other person. This often manifests in asking challenging questions or suggesting another perspective. If there is not a healthy balance between support and challenge then the best learning is not taking place.

Secret #5: Fun
This is sooo important. People learn best when their relaxed and enjoying themselves. Having fun together supports this. All our Power of Seven groups have a great sense of humour. We strike a great balance between working hard and playing hard. We even have ‘Fun’ as one of our 10 rules of engagement!

Above: Power of Seven ‘Sales Executives’ enjoying a night of fun on the town in Cork this week.

NOTE: New Power of Seven group starting soon called ‘Great Minds’. Contact me (barry@po7.ie) to find out more if you’d like to develop your mental capacity as a leader?

Barry Walsh: Founder of the Power of Seven. 16 years experience in helping business owners and their teams develop winning strategies for business growth. Barry’s facilitation style creates a space for shared learning that leads to action. www.po7.ie
Follow Po7 LinkedIn Page here

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