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Everyone has had a peer advisory group at some time in their lives. It was just relatively informal. As children and teenagers, an informal peer advisory group consisted of closest friends, BFFs, classmates, parents, and maybe a mentor who took you under their wing.
As a manager, business leader, or business owner, you have other managers and fellow entrepreneurs you bounce ideas off of over morning coffee, your texting group on your phone, and the people who helped you get to where you are today.
What if you had a way to talk to business peers from all walks of life who share similar ideas and beliefs about running a business? Spending time around other business owners or managers who don’t compete in your space can benefit your growth as a supervisor, CEO, or company owner, no matter the size of your business or department.
We’ll examine the importance of peer advisory groups and how they can help you as a business leader.
How Does a Peer Advisory Group Work?
If you’ve spent time on Reddit or LinkedIn, you’ll see that groups of people gravitate towards each other. When you check these forums on your smartphone, a peer advisory group is a click or swipe away whenever an idea or eureka moment hits you.
Your chosen peer advisory group offers a forum in a safe, growth-oriented space where like-minded people can collaborate rather than compete. It doesn’t make sense for you to talk to your main competitor in a peer advisory group. But it does help if, say, all of you share one main facet in common. Perhaps all of you have supply chain issues, or all of you graduated from the same university. Maybe all of you have the same mentor. Whatever commonality brought you together serves as the impetus for starting the group. Continuing the peer advisory group depends on the input of its members.
All of the individuals in your peer advisory group can talk about:
- Challenges faced as individuals or collectively.
- Problem-solving these challenges.
- Exchanging ideas that can lead to professional growth.
- Innovation for business breakthroughs.
- Helping each other to make the right decisions for strategic business planning.
For example, you’re having difficulty with employee retention. You bring up this dilemma in your peer advisory group, and two people talk about how they solved a similar problem to yours, including the processes and planning involved.
But a peer group is so much more than that. When you’re onboarding a new customer or client, you have meetings with them to get to the heart of what they need because there is only so much that written material and information exchanges through email can do. During your meeting with the new customer, the client’s team talks about an issue they thought about as they were answering a question you asked them. What that team brings up leads to a follow-up question from you, which, in turn, leads to insights that you hadn’t thought of before.
A peer advisory group works in the exact same way as the customer onboarding process.
You don’t know what you don’t know. Conversations with your peer advisory group can lead to in-depth discussions that give you deeper insights into your business growth.
Peer advisory groups can be a forum, like on Reddit or LinkedIn, or the group may meet over Zoom monthly just to talk. Sometimes, talking is more efficient and more effective than writing.
But it all starts with a conversation.
7 Reasons Why Peer Advisory Groups Work for You
A peer advisory group is much more than an open forum to discuss your business or your team. Look over the many benefits of joining such a group.
1. Connecting With Like-Minded People
Have you ever heard it’s lonely at the top? A peer advisory group puts you in touch with people you can relate to that you might not find anywhere else. Nothing happens in a vacuum, and working alone can feel, well, lonely. Connecting with like-minded people in your peer advisory group offers different perspectives and gives you hope that there is a solution to whatever difficulties you face.
2. Everyone Is a Coach
All of the people in your chosen peer advisory group are coaches because you’re all experts in your respective fields. All of you take a high-level view of the playing field. But not all of you may see the same thing. One of you could see that a player is out of position on that field, but another person might see the rain clouds off in the distance, which could cause havoc during the game. Fellow coaches can give you objective suggestions and advice, but because you’re also a coach, you don’t have to follow that advice. It’s up to you to act on it.
3. Gaining Non-Emotional Insights
Because your coaches aren’t knee-deep in the weeds of your business operations, they can offer advice based on their own experiences without any emotional attachment (i.e., they’re more objective!) to their advice.
4. Questions, Answers, and More Questions
You don’t need to have all the answers, but you do need to ask the right questions. As we illustrated earlier, a peer advisory group can answer questions but then lead to more questions that delve into deeper insights into how you run your business or department.
5. Accountability Without Judgment
The key to a peer advisory group is to have a safe space to talk. Your peers can hold each other accountable to their advice. For instance, you take the advice of one of your peers, but it doesn’t go well. You can ask if there are other ideas that could possibly work. Or maybe your peers can ask you how a particular implementation went. Accountability doesn’t have to be formal! It can just be a “Hey, how’s it going with your new hire?”
6. Immediate Feedback
When posting your ideas, questions, comments, or concerns to your peer advisory group, you can get immediate feedback from anyone. Whether you need a simple “yes or no” or a 10-paragraph, highly detailed response, you can bounce ideas off each other quickly.
7. Growing Together
After six months, everyone in your peer should grow. As business leaders in the same group, all of you should grow together as your business grows or your team grows. You shouldn’t be in the same space after several months in your group. All of you should have a continual growth mindset.
Join the Right Peer Advisory Group
People of all levels in a business can ask questions in the forums section of the Great Game of Business forums and get immediate feedback from others in the Great Game of Business Community. Start your free trial with our community resources to see what insights you can glean!