The Power of Peer Groups – Why Lone Riders Need a Posse
Updated: Dec 22, 2019
In nearly every hero’s journey – think Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings or almost any old Western – a group of disparate individuals with unique talents come together for some singular goal. Throughout their journey, they learn and support each other, find common ground, and almost always, are better for the adventure.
Entrepreneurs, by nature, are individuals who pride themselves in, well, being an individual. Because of creative talent, intellectual capacity, or business acumen, somehow, we have pioneered a business or a product and shepherded it into the world. It is lonely sometimes but most often it is what we want and how we choose to operate. While we don’t mind bringing our company with us on the journey, in the end, it is being on top of the mountain, looking ahead to the next vista. That is what we do best.
But sometimes, the single mindedness of this adventure, divides us from family, friends, and peers who may be supportive but don’t always understand or have the experience to provide good counsel or advice. Having a group of colleagues or individuals to share the journey at an honest and compassionate level is a necessary component if we are going to grow, develop and exceed beyond our expectations.
Peer groups can be industry focused but most often are diverse. Members share our stories, call each other out on our false thoughts and check-in on tasks they say they will do. So it’s not surprising my experience has been confirmed by this article which states the three things that members receive from successful peer group interaction are:
new business ideas
All of these are necessary elements of business and personal leadership which are difficult to obtain in any other way.
I would add a couple of other items. Being challenged in how you see yourself, your business and the world helps you to grow quicker and more effectively than if you were not in the group. Your peers see and respond to you as you are now but also support the personal growth you are trying to achieve. In our normal social circles that is something incredibly difficult to obtain. Often, our family and friends sometimes are afraid to see us change and those thoughts and worries can hold us back.
Some entrepreneurs and business owners I know do not believe in peer groups. Fearful of sharing their “secret sauce”, being vulnerable or fiercely independent, they continue along a singular path. However, there are numerous examples of highly competitive and successful people who participate in some form of this model and it can be done to improve any area of our life.
Have you ever notice that many world-class athletes such as Olympic track stars, professional golfers and football players intentionally train with other athletes who are their fiercest competitors? Inherently, we become better when we are surrounded with others looking to better themselves. If you want to be the best, you must work and interact with the best.
Bottom line – professional or personal peer groups provide many of the same opportunities for personal or professional growth – peer interaction, support and accountability. However, it is important to remember one thing. We each must do our own work.
In the Lord of the Rings saga, Frodo and Samwise went into Mordor to rid themselves of the ring. Sam did everything in his power to support Frodo on his journey, but in the end, it was Frodo’s responsibility to destroy the ring on Mt Doom.
So, after your time with your group, you may be renewed, motivated and energized. But the real task will be to take what you’ve learned and put it into practice – for yourself, your family and your business. And if you falter, know that someone will have your back – encouraging and reminding you to keep going.
Interested in a joining a peer group? We offer several opportunities to engage with entrepreneurs and business owners who believe in the peer networks and have a growth mindset.
For owners and key executives of established businesses, check out Vistage here. For startups and early stage businesses, check out the E-Circle here.