Who’s your group?

A group will help flush out thinking on your upcoming business plans, marketing concepts or even HR related challenges.

I remember thinking, this is great, seven of us, sitting around, talking and challenging each others business ideas. We call our group the “Mastermind Meeting”. We meet once a month to share laughter, ideas, experience and to discuss any new intellect any of us has acquired. What is really interesting is that we all come from different backgrounds, we all have different reasons for being in the room and for the most part we really don’t spend much time together outside of the meeting. However, for this one night, we are a tight group, and the ideas and insights we gain are invaluable.

I share this with you because this month I want to ask, who’s in your group? Where do you go to bounce ideas, share experience and learn a different perspective? Do you even have a group that you can draw on? I think it is enlightening to have “fresh eyes” looking at your business. Many times, I find we get too close to our business and we automatically start filling in the gaps in our own thinking. By doing this we miss obvious holes in our logic, we make assumptions that are wrong or we give too much credence to concepts that may not be true.

For me, being part of this group gives me perspective. I know everyone is different, we all think differently and we all filter our reality differently. For example, this month two of the group members presented their business ideas. While their plans were solid and made sense, each one of us gave our own personal tweaks and nudges that helped to shift some of the thinking. The end result was, the presenters walked away with lots to consider and a handful of fresh ideas for their next steps.

I think as a business leader you need a group too. Whenever, I meet with business owners, especially start up or struggling ones, I ask whether they have an advisory council in place. It doesn’t need to be formal, just a group that can offer a diverse opinion. A group will help flush out thinking on your upcoming business plans, marketing concepts or even HR related challenges.

Would a group be good for you? Why not look through your personal network and find 5-7 connections you really admire and invite them to join you one evening. It is especially valuable if you invite people on the outside fringe of your network (i.e. the people you don’t always socialize with). The ground rules are simple, have a brief agenda, park all egos at the door and at all times feelings are to be acknowledged and respected. Outside of this, the world is fair game.

As a next step I hope one day that our group starts to capture our sessions on CD so that we can share it. I think others might find the humour, insights and ideas we share helpful for their business too. So thanks Tom, Peri, Trevor, Randy,

Rick and Michael for being a valuable “group” of people to hang with.

Curt Skene