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Sometimes, the best way to solve a problem is to get a fresh perspective. If you’re a leader looking for new ideas, innovation, and new ways to overcome challenges, connection with others will be key.
When people of different backgrounds, education, and experience come together to solve a problem or build something, it’s often stronger than it would be from the mind of one. That’s the idea behind peer advisory groups, also known as Peer Groups, Mastermind Groups, or Peer Advisory Councils (PaCs).
What Exactly Is a PaC?
PaCs comprise a trusted group of peers participating in a confidential once-a-month board meeting led by a professional with a structured agenda to work on their leadership skills and their businesses.
It’s important to know that PaCs are not networking. This is why it can be a game changer for your business — once we get on the same page about what “it” is.
Here are some examples of how you can group participants in a PaC.
Position / Title
This PaC is for CEOs, business owners, Presidents, CFOs, Sr. Leaders, Key Executives, CIOs, CHROs, and more. This kind of PaC is based on position within an organization.
This PaC connects individuals across organization levels in similar industries, i.e., a group comprised of people who work in the Manufacturing industry.
This PaC connects individuals whose geography matters; for example, all of the small business leaders in a city or even people with similar business backgrounds in a country.
This PaC supports the unique segment of family-run businesses. Family firms are unique and represent multi-generational dynamics.
This PaC represents and connects members of minority groups, like woman-owned businesses, veteran-owned businesses, businesses owned by people of color, and more, offering support and perspective unique to that market segment.
Client / Community
This PaC is designed for organizations or large communities where the organizations’ clients and prospects alone make up the PaC. It is their clients and prospects that are members.
This PaC connects individuals and leaders in a company that has a complex organizational structure that would benefit from coming together as their peer group inside the company to collaborate, build relationships and solve company problems as well as vet opportunities.
With any or other niche concepts mentioned above, you can create a group of professionals and lead them virtually, in person, or a combination of both.
Why Should You Run a PaC?
Running a PaC (Peer Advisory Group) offers valuable benefits to both the moderator and the participants.
Serving as a guide, you can witness the growth and transformation of each member as they offer and receive valuable insights, expand their perspectives, and develop actionable strategies for personal and professional development.
By fostering a safe space for open dialogue, you encourage authentic connections that go beyond business relationships, leading to a strong sense of community and belonging.
For the participants, being part of a PaC grants access to a wealth of diverse expertise, fresh ideas, and unbiased feedback from peers facing similar challenges. The support and accountability provided by the group empower individuals to make well-informed decisions, implement innovative solutions, and achieve their goals with confidence.
Is It Beneficial to Run a PaC With Other Service Offerings?
The many benefits and reasons for starting your own PaC are both rewarding personally and financially. As a moderator of the PaC, you will experience immense satisfaction from simply watching members overcome high levels of stress to find success, all because of the insights from their fellow peers. Members can make crucial advances in their business due to the feedback and confidence derived from their peer group meetings. Financially, they are a predictable and recurring revenue stream that augments your current offerings. PaCs are recession resistant as well as salable or transferrable, so when you’re ready to step away, someone can take over or purchase your PaC—- not to mention the ROI on your time can be very high! PaCs also tie in well if you offer assessments as one of your main services. When running a PaC, each member can be given the assessment as part of their onboarding. That assessment and follow-up work would then become a natural next step for members to want to be implemented with their teams.
If you’ve already given that assessment to your clients and they are joining a PaC, they will be advocates and ambassadors. That word of mouth is the best way to encourage other members to utilize the assessments for benchmarking, leadership collaboration, etc, thereby growing your assessment practice naturally.
What Specific Skills Should You Have to Run a PaC?
Certain skill sets and experience are required to be successful, and in this case the more the better. But, if you don’t possess one, that’s okay; many times, they can be filled by alternative means, like taking a course. Don’t let not having the skill set listed below deter you from pursuing peer groups. It just means that you will need to compensate in that area, and it can be done.
Here are a few examples of the key skills that help you be most successful when running a PaC.
Business Experience: A high level of acumen in your field that applies to your ideal PaC participant.
Business Knowledge: Knowledge of industry trends, experiences, and specific vernacular to start conversations and bring insight into business direction.
Continuous Learner: Curiosity about business, leadership skills, new hobbies, and new methods of learning.
High Emotion Quotient: The ability to be diplomatic, empathic, collaborative, calm, respectful, and a good listener.
Confidence: The ability to command a group with accountability, discipline, focus, and collaboration, as well as bring a high level of speaking skill to discussions.
Team Building: The skill to help people connect and collaborate in a new environment while learning from each other and staying focused. If you don’t currently possess all of these skills, don’t worry! You can develop them over time and shouldn’t be deterred from leading a PaC. Keep awareness in the areas you need to improve and get outside assistance if you need to develop a skill.
Interested in Starting a Peer Advisory Group of Your Own?
To start your own PaC, the first step is to think through what type of PaC fits your background, your current business model, and the type of client you love to work with. Running a PaC is a gratifying and enriching experience that cultivates personal growth, strengthens professional skills, and creates a powerful network of individuals dedicated to each other's success.
Tina Corner Stolz is the founder of LXCouncil, which is a licensing model to train, certify, support, and provide turnkey resources and a playbook for anyone wanting to create and run successful, profitable peer advisory councils. She has been a TTI SI distributor since 2005 and utilizes assessments to help members in PaCs interact better together and moderate meetings more effectively. She is the author of Your Seat at The Table, a book that details exactly how to create and run your own PaC.