It’s funny how language can inspire aha moments. I love Sekou Andrews‘ work for that reason, because for me, he offers much more than clever turns of phrase. When you unpack his brand of poetry, there’s always such rich meaning to be extracted if you take the time to do so. He has since inspired me to look for that deeper meaning no matter who mouths the words.
So during a workshop I conducted for a Vistage Emerging Leaders Group in San Antonio today, one of the members shared that the group was incredibly effective because the members had grown to develop a “vested interest” in the outcome for each of their member’s actions. I immediately asked, “What do you mean by that?”
To digress for a moment, I’d like you to consider my frame of reference for asking the question. When I grew up learning this stuff during my early days with Vistage, part of the value proposition was that CEOs and business leaders could meet with peers who had no “vested interest” in the outcome – meaning they had no financial or professional skin in the game. The point was that they could receive impartial advice from people who knew exactly what it was like to sit in their chair and who had nothing to gain one way or the other.
The vested interest the member was referring to today was quite different. It was vested interest of a higher order. It had nothing to do with personal gain. It had to do with the emotional connection they’ve developed for one another when it comes to wins and losses. While members may join a group without having a vested interest in their fellow members’ outcomes, one could argue that, over time, acquiring this brand of vested interest makes the group that much better. If you think about it, this is exactly what every peer group should be shooting for.
Sekou says, “Tapping into the collective intelligence makes our whole greater than the sum of our smarts.” I learn something new every time I work with a new group. That’s why I love doing it so much! A big thanks to Sekou Andrews and to everyone who challenges us to think about the world a little differently.
Meet Jennifer Vessels, CEO of Next Step. Her latest initiative, called Executive Growth Alliance (EGA), works to assemble and facilitate groups of peers who are part of a common ecosystem (transportation, health, etc.). Jennifer’s proactive, systems thinking approach to future-readiness is among the topics of our conversation today!
For information about the Executive Growth Alliance Summit in Oslo (late August, 2019), you can contact Jennifer directly at email@example.com and 1 650 218 0902 or 47 90230982.
Ronan Leonard is The Mastermind Guy. He connects small business owners to support groups through the innovative concept of virtual masterminds. Ronan believes there is high value in making real peer-to-peer connections. You can find out more about Ronan and his work by visiting Eccountability.io.
Yesterday, I spoke to an audience of CEOs and business leaders at the Vistage Executive Summit in Washington, DC. I was doubly excited about having been invited because I not only knew it would be a great event, but I’d also get to visit my youngest daughter who lives in DC. I arrived a day early where we met for a lovely lunch, enjoyed a trip to the Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery, and took in a Nationals game. For the purpose of this post, I’d like to focus on the Renwick Gallery.
The featured exhibit is called Connections, and I was struck by the first paragraph of its description painted on a wall:
“The Internet has fundamentally transformed the way we think over the last quarter century. We now see the world through an infinite web of “hyperlinked” ideas. We have information at our fingertips like never before and our attention has shifted from the data-driven to the interpretive, seeking out patterns and cultivating relationships. Connecting is at the heart of modern life, and the connections we make whether factual or fantastic, tell us stories about ourselves and the world among us.”
I was also intrigued by a quote I discovered later during our tour of the exhibit:
“Everything eventually connects – people, ideas, objects. The quality of the connections is the key to quality per se.” – Charles Eames
When we talk of peer advantage, we mean people connections with individuals and in group settings. I incorporated what I saw at the Renwick Gallery into my presentation to the CEOs and business leaders at the event the following day. As you might imagine, it added a certain weight – a special brand of gravity to the value of the people we surround ourselves with and how and why they matter so much. It’s these connections that so often either lift us up, drag us down, or hold us at bay. Food for thought for the weekend, as you are hopefully spending time with those whom personally lift you up the most.
*The featured image is from the exhibit – a woven sculpture by Janet Echelman. I invite you to read its description here and check out her amazing work by clicking on her name.