The Power of Peer Relationships
Having spent most of my career in the trade association world, I had the opportunity to experience first-hand the unique value that comes from developing and being an active participant in a peer network. The sharing of advice, experience, counsel, and insights can create a powerful connection between colleagues that often grows beyond a professional relationship. Indeed, lifelong friendships have seen their beginnings in the seeking, giving, and receiving of business advice.
Industry-specific peer groups comprised of non-competing business executives are becoming increasingly popular. So too are non-industry specific groups: Vistage and the Alternative Board are examples of local groups of business executives from a variety of industries, professions, and specialties who come together to, as one Vistage executive put it “have their questions answered and their answers questioned!”
These peer networks have seen rapid growth in the past five years, despite or perhaps, because of the Covid-19 challenge. And why not. Business has become increasingly challenging for organizations of all sizes and specialties. A return to “the good old days” (whatever they are) seems unlikely.
In their book “The Power of Peers,” co-authors and former Vistage Worldwide executives Leon Shapiro and Leo Bottary list five essential factors for creating an effective peer group: Select the right peers, create a safe environment, utilize a smart guide (facilitator), foster valuable interaction, be accountable (to each other and to the group).
Becoming part of a peer network can be a game changer for your organization and it need not be limited to the “C-Suite.” Leadership development programs, while focused on individual growth, often have the related benefit of seeing peer networks formed. One such example is the Graphic Communications Leadership Institute (GCLI). Developed and launched in March of 2021, this quarterly workshop, designed to help prepare rising professionals advance their level of business acumen and leadership skills, GCLI has also provided members the opportunity to form valuable relationships with like-minded colleagues from non-competing industry organizations. The value of these relationships is significant and aids in members’ individual growth while providing direct benefit to their respective businesses.
For more information about peer networks in general or the Graphic Communications Leadership Institute in particular, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Joseph P. Truncale, Ph.D., CAE, is the Founder and Principal of Alexander Joseph Associates, a privately held consultancy specializing in executive business advisory services with clients throughout the graphic communications industry.
Joe spent 30 years with NAPL, including 11 years as President and CEO. He is an adjunct professor at NYU teaching graduate courses in Executive Leadership; Financial Management and Analysis; Finance for Marketing Decisions; and Leadership: The C Suite Perspective. He may be reached at Joe@ajstrategy.com. Phone or text: (201) 394-8160.