Being a member of a peer group is hard work. These groups are not for the thin skinned. For them to work, each member must be honest about their business and be prepared to give as much as they get. As Rocky Balboa once said, “The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it.” What peer groups can do though, is offer members a respite from that world. A safe place comprised of like-minded peers. Most members are facing similar issues or have already faced them and can show the path forward.
Give to Get
There are times when the group can rally around a member in distress. That can be in the form of encouragement or sharing of ideas. That’s a strength and benefit of being in a peer group. Most owners will tell you though, if you want to be in the group that you’ll need to bring fresh ideas to the table. Members won’t succeed by only taking and not giving. The more they give, the more they’ll get.
Even within like-type companies, not everyone is always at the same level of performance. Those that have plans for growth and are building their business can often obtain visionary insights from the others who have traveled that road ahead of them. They can warn of the perils and the lessons learned. Members can save time, money, and resources by asking questions and heeding the advice of their peers.
Thriving Through Chaos
The printing industry is a tough business to manage, with many ways to be successful. There isn’t just one way, and there isn’t a handbook or manual for owners to drive the business. The collaboration and life-long friendships derived from participating in a peer group can help those looking to thrive in this ever-changing world.
The meetings should be structured so that the key issues and concerns of the members are discussed. Advice and insight can then be shared by those who have conquered those same issues in the past. Members should feel that they accomplished something at the end of each meeting. They return home having made commitments that their peers will hold them to account.
Why Not You?
Great question, why not you? If you are already a member of a peer group, congratulations for the dedication and work that you put into making the group a success. Your stakeholders thank you as well – they see the results and benefits of your participation.
Some peer groups are led by the members themselves and others are led by a third party. My continued involvement in leading peer groups has brought me years of satisfaction in watching the business owners morph and become the leaders they are today. If you’re interested in joining a peer group, reach out to your advisors or industry contacts. If you’re not sure where to find a group that’s right for you, contact me and I might be able to help.
Mike Philie can help validate what’s working and what may need to change in your business. Changing the trajectory of a business is difficult to do while simultaneously operating the core competencies. Mike provides strategy and insight to owners and CEOs in the Graphic Communications Industry by providing direct and realistic advice, not being afraid to voice the unpopular opinion and helping leaders navigate change through a common sense and practical approach. Learn more at www.philiegroup.com, LinkedIn or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Originally published in Printing Impressions.