Contributor: Phillip C. Thomas
Most network marketers do not have a core group of advisors to rely upon. Certainly they are connected to many people, but even the ones with whom they share a great business relationship with cannot necessarily be counted on to empathize with them on their concerns, setbacks, or challenges. And even if they would, it’s unlikely the network marketer would want to share that sensitive level of information.
Peer groups, however, can offer network marketers and other entrepreneurs an unrivaled resource in terms of thoughtful mentoring, effective accountability, and industry knowledge.
In addition to complementary efforts such as seeking out advice from friends and business associates or help from industry sources, participating in a CEO peer advisory group can offer valuable insight into how to move forward, as well as what not to do.
A peer advisory group offers peer-to-peer mentoring and accountability. Non-competing network marketers, entrepreneurs, and other senior executives (all vetted prior to inclusion to avoid potential conflicts) commit to meet regularly and confidentially share their own challenges, as well as listen to their peers and provide feedback.
This type of setting offers fresh perspectives and ideas, and leaders can become engaged in conversations they most likely would not have anywhere else. As Emre Soyer and Robin M. Hogarth share in their article, “Fooled by Experience,” which appeared in the Harvard Business Review,
“Honest feedback–an unbiased, undistorted assessment of one’s experience–is essential for improving decisions. Yet decision makers are often surrounded by individuals who have incentives to feed them censored and self-serving information.”
Peer advisory group members have no incentives of this kind. Instead, they are diverse business people with likeminded ideas (and sometimes counter ideas) about personal and business improvement. This shared philosophy, combined with new perspectives, helps drive both a powerful sense of accountability and diversity of thought, which motivates members who share a plan with their peers to follow through, as well as make sure they are presenting a high-quality plan at the start.
Peer advisory groups also offer a certain leadership development dynamic not easily taught in professional development programs. In particular, entrepreneurs and network marketers can greatly benefit from repeated exposure to proven experience in areas such as delegation, culture development, operations issues, and strategy, to name a few.
Participants of peer advisory groups are also offered the opportunity to contribute to dialogues of a bigger and more subjective nature, like how to realize your life dreams, or how to overcome life’s challenges. Still, while these groups may not only focus on day-to-day business, studies show these groups improve business outcomes–some demonstrating business growth of group members up to three times faster than those businesses not members of a similar group.
For network marketers and entrepreneurs, peer advisory groups offer a key, often missing piece to business success.
Phillip C. Thomas is Chairman of the Boston region for Vistage International, one of the world’s most established CEO development organizations. Vistage Chairmen create and facilitate private advisory boards for senior executives, business owners, and professional advisors in a variety of industries. Nearly 20,000 members in 16 countries have access to one-to-one executive coaching, expert speakers, and a global network of business leaders through Vistage. Phillip.Thomas@VistageChair.com