The Power of Peer Groups: November 2012

In his book “Think and Grow Rich”, Napoleon Hill describes the Master Mind principle as 2 or more people who work in harmony towards a definite major purpose. Today they are often called “Peer Groups”, but they serve the same purpose. They are a group of people with the same basic goals that help each other out.

I’m part of a peer group made up of other IT Companies. To avoid conflicts, we are located in geographically diverse cities across the country such as San Diego, Memphis, Detroit, and Boston. While we meet weekly on a conference call, we also meet in person once per quarter. In this day and age, the cost and effort to travel to meet people in person may seem unnecessary, but there is something about being in the presence of another person that can’t be replicated by phone or even by video conference. I suppose that’s why people still go to sporting events and movie theaters.

The knowledge required to run a business or any organization is vast, more than any one person can know. Large businesses have the advantage of a diverse staff that have specialized knowledge. Small companies don’t have that luxury but with peer groups, members help each other to fill in knowledge gaps. In my case, the answer to a question I can answer is always a phone call or email away.

The benefits of peer groups goes beyond access to knowledge however. The speed by which a business can progress is greatly accelerated since it can benefit from things that have worked for others, and avoid those that didn’t work. Years of trial and error can be eliminated.

Finally, a peer group is made up of people just like you which means they have an intimate understanding of the human side of running a business or organization and are there to help each other through the ups and downs. Perhaps that’s why the CEOs of even the largest companies band together.

My brother recently opened an ice cream store. He never asks me for advice, probably because he’s older, but I tend to offer it anyways. My only advice was to join every industry and peer group he can find. I would guess that the ice cream business is pretty competitive and I’m sure it would take a long time for anyone to figure it out by themselves.

Much like the leverage of peer groups, technology can help us leverage the world beyond. If you need help with your network or the cloud, give us a call.