Peer Advantage and Your Personal & Professional Success
Since coming to Vistage in late 2012, I’ve engaged in countless conversations about peer influence as the driving force behind our members’ business performance and personal growth. It’s a concept we intuitively understand, right? It’s everywhere.
The problem is, the term peer influence is a grossly inadequate description of the richness of the peer advisory group experience. Recently, a colleague of mine spoke with Etienne Wenger-Trayner who, along with Jean Lave, coined the term “communities of practice” in the early 90s. He said communities of practice have been around since the dawn of human existence, but until it had a name and a commonly understood language, it was very difficult for people to talk about. Turns out, it’s what I’ve been struggling with for months now – to find a more precise way to describe the peer advisory group experience – to give it language.
Peer Advantage is peer influence of a higher order. It speaks to what growth-oriented leaders who want to achieve challenging goals need to be successful. Whether you want to complete your first marathon or double the size of your company, being around a select group of people who share your interest and passion for success is a transformative experience. Peer influence is largely an individual endeavor. Peer advantage, on the other hand, is realized within the group. Three reasons for this are:
- Achieving peer advantage requires being extremely selective about the peers who comprise your group. They must be the caliber of people who will inspire mutual success.
- Peer advantage is only achieved through structure and discipline, requiring well-organized, regularly scheduled group meetings. Consistent interaction is what weaves and strengthens the group’s social fabric.
- Peer advantage is only fully appreciated when a highly strategic approach to peer engagement is employed, both inside and outside the group structure. The strategy is aimed squarely at helping you achieve your specific goal – whatever that may be.
Peer advisory groups are like snowflakes – no two are exactly the same. But the common denominators of selectivity, structure and strategy are evident across any successful group. Over the coming weeks, I’ll go into greater detail about these three key elements and how they impact the group. I’ll also share peer advantage success stories from business leaders across the country – and I’ll invite you to share yours. More to come!