Leo & Randy On Conferences

Leo was recently asked to pinch hit as a keynote speaker at a conference in San Diego for a highly specialized audience.  Realizing his “power of peers” message had little to do with what the conference was all about, he understood it had everything to do with why they were there – to learn, connect and grow.  This inspired him to create a new keynote titled, Maximizing the Value of Your Conference Experience.  During our conversation today, we talk about how to tap into the greatest resource at these kind of events – your fellow attendees.

We also touch on the Washington Nationals sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals and the value of the special people who make a difference in our lives.

Useful links:

Leo’s updated speaking page is here

Keep up with Leo’s latest writings in CEO WORLD Magazine

Leo’s books – The Power of Peers and What Anyone Can Do

The Peer Advantage – Randy’s online/virtual peer advisory group for SMB owners (currently accepting applications)

Subscribe to the YouTube channel

Connect with Leo on Linkedin | Twitter | Instagram

Connect with Randy on Linkedin | Twitter | Instagram

Leo & Randy On Accountability

Today we discuss Leo’s latest CEO WORLD Magazine article entitled, Peer Advantage And Why CEOs Should Care About It. Previous Vistage CEO Rafael Pastor crafted an accountability model for CEOs to illustrate the powerful resource of empathetic accountability found in a peer advisory group. The Power Of Peers, co-authored by Leon Shapiro and Leo Bottary includes that model.

Keep up with Leo’s latest writings in CEO WORLD Magazine

Leo’s books – The Power of Peers and What Anyone Can Do

Leo’s speaking and workshops

The Peer Advantage – Randy’s online/virtual peer advisory group for SMB owners (currently accepting applications)

Subscribe to the YouTube channel

Connect with Leo on Linkedin | Twitter | Instagram

Connect with Randy on Linkedin | Twitter | Instagram

Leo & Randy On Learning Groups

Let’s talk about learning groups. From graduate level classroom experiences, where Leo first gained deeper insights into peer advantage, to groups of CEOs and key executives – group members can leverage the power of collaboration to enhance and increase their learning.

Links mentioned in today’s show:

Linda Darling-Hammond: Learning How to Learn Together (her interview from Year Of The Peer podcast)

Rutgers University, Master of Communication and Media

Brian Solis is going to be our next guest. Be sure to check out his book, Lifescale.

Leo’s books – The Power of Peers and What Anyone Can Do

Leo’s speaking and workshops

The Peer Advantage – Randy’s SMB online peer advisory group*
*Currently accepting applications – apply today

Subscribe to the YouTube channel

Connect with Leo on Linkedin | Twitter | Instagram

Connect with Randy on Linkedin | Twitter | Instagram

Leo & Randy On CEOs and Peers

Leo wrote a piece for CEOWORLD Magazine titled, How Great CEOs Maximize Peer Relationships. Today, we talk about the natural progression of business relationships and how we engage with others: we connect, network, optimize and accelerate.

Whether we’re part of a team or a group, we can all learn how to take greater advantage of our opportunities with others. That’s the point of the work we do at Peernovation and it’s the point of this podcast – doing the things anyone can do, but the things most of us never will.

Leo will be keynoting in Oslo, Norway on August 28th at the 2019 Executive Growth Alliance Summit

Leo’s books – The Power of Peers and What Anyone Can Do

Leo’s speaking and workshops

The Peer Advantage – Randy’s SMB peer advisory group (ONLY TWO SPOTS LEFT)

Subscribe to the YouTube channel

Connect with Leo on Linkedin | Twitter | Instagram

Connect with Randy on Linkedin | Twitter | Instagram

Leo & Randy On Great Groups

Today’s show is a discussion on Leo’s latest CEOWORLD column, Ten Attributes of a Great CEO Peer Group. They are:

  1. Having the right people in the room 
  2. Being truly committed to their fellow members 
  3. “Leveraging” their safe environment
  4. Being prepared to play 
  5. Being relentlessly patient with asking questions 
  6. Bringing important topics to the conversation 
  7. Understanding how to get the most from the group
  8. Being willing to challenge one another from a place of caring
  9. Accepting personal responsibility for your role
  10. Outstanding leadership

Leo will be keynoting in Oslo, Norway on August 28th at the 2019 Executive Growth Alliance Summit

Leo’s books – The Power of Peers and What Anyone Can Do

Leo’s speaking and workshops

Randy’s small business owner peer advisory group, The Peer Advantage

Subscribe to the YouTube channel

Connect with Leo on Linkedin | Twitter

Connect with Randy on Linkedin | Twitter

Vested Interest. Positive or Negative?

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.

 

 

 

 

The Yin & Yang of Mastermind Groups

In recent weeks, I’ve updated the original presentation of the five factors common to high performing groups (The Power of Peers, 2016) from a list to a reinforcing loop.  Also, after leading workshops for more than 100 mastermind groups over the past few years, it’s become clear that if an individual member wants to drive higher group performance, then that member needs to Show Up, Step Up, and Follow-Up.  I invite you review these two articles.

There’s a third dimension at play here as well, and that’s the yin and yang relationship of factors 2 and 3 – an environment that’s safe/confidential and one that fosters valuable interaction.  One provides emotional safety, while the other supports intellectual dialogue that offers valuable outcomes critical to delivering member value.  You simply can’t have one without the other.  And without one you have neither.  These forces are not opposite so much as interdependent.  Hence the reference to the Daoist concept of Yin & Yang.

The safer people feel in their group meeting and the more they are willing to leverage that safe environment, the more likely the larger, deeper, and more important topics (challenges and opportunities, personal and professional) will come to the forefront.  You can’t have valuable interaction if you don’t have anything valuable to interact about.  Deep conversations, on the other hand, inspire trust and increase emotional safety.

If generally speaking, you believe your group meeting to be a safe and confidential setting, then challenge yourself to leverage that environment more fully.  It’s not unlike being at a spa that has a magnificent pool, full of restorative power.  The thing is, only total immersion will provide the maximum benefit.  Looking at the pool from your lounge chair or sticking your toes in the water isn’t going to cut it.  It won’t work in your group either.  By being one who willingly shares and empathetically listens, you’ll encourage others to do the same through the sheer power of your example. You’ll see the trust grow and the dialogue improve.  Just watch.

The rich dialogue that can take place in a mastermind group is what pushes us to be better, both emotionally and intellectually.  Participating in these conversations by bringing your whole self, is an act of both generosity and courage.  It’s the Dao (or the way) of high performing mastermind groups.

Enjoy!

On Great Books

If you’re writing and speaking more than you’re reading and listening, it’s time to right the ship!  Here are three books you’ll love!  When you don’t have immediate access to the right people directly, you can still surround yourself with their ideas!  Enjoy!

Amazon links to the books (not affiliate links):

Cracking the Curiosity Code: The Key to Unlocking Human Potential by Diane Hamilton

Late Bloomers: The Power of Patience in a World Obsessed with Early Achievement by Rich Karlgaard

Lifescale: How to Live a More Creative, Productive, and Happy Life by Brian Solis

What The Power of Peers Taught Us About High Performing Teams

When Leon Shapiro and I tackled the subject of how and why formal peer groups for CEOs and business leaders work so well in The Power of Peers, our research revealed two important findings: 1) The Learning-Achieving Cycle  common to high performing groups; and, 2) What we called the Five Factors necessary for making the Learning-Achieving reinforcing loop possible.

After conducting nearly 100 self-assessment workshops for peer groups since the book was published, I’ve learned that the Five Factors are more than just components of a condition, they are a system onto themselves.  What’s more, this system (with minor modifications) provides insights into what drives high performing teams.

The five factors were originally presented independently (reinforcing one another of course) yet described as if one had little to do with the other. The Five Factors included: 1) Having the right people in the room (people who share common values and a purpose for being in the group, yet who are diverse in their own ways); 2) A Safe and Confidential Environment – a place where one feels safe to be open and vulnerable and where confidentiality is sacrosanct; 3) Valuable interaction – while providing emotional safety is critical, here we talked about the quality of the topics discussed, the discipline of asking great questions, and the tangible outcomes realized by the group members; 4) Accountability – not accountability to the leader of the group, but to the other members – a solemn promise to one another to be present and bring their A games to each and every meeting; 5) Having a smart guide, someone who served as a servant leader of the group and as the steward of the other four factors.

Today, I see the Five Factors not simply as overlapping, but as a system, much like the Learning-Achieving Cycle:

 It starts off with having the right people, who come to know each other and trust one another enough to feel safe.  This feeling of safety inspires and enables deeper conversations about the kind of serious topics that all too often never happen in the context of our daily lives.  As group members grow to care about one another and their respective aspirations, it inspires each of them to bring their A games to every meeting, knowing that their colleagues are prepared to do the same.  Their currency with one another lies in this place where everyone helps each other achieve new heights.  The smart guide’s role as the servant leader is essentially to serve as the steward of the other four factors by driving this reinforcing loop.  He/she makes sure that the group is always populated with people who add value, that the safe environment is never taken for granted, that members come prepared to share their toughest challenges and greatest opportunities, and that a context which allows for a culture of growing group accountability is able to flourish.

So you may be asking the same thing I did:  Do these five group factors, presented as a reinforcing loop, apply to teams and offer guidance to team leaders?   With some minor adjustments, I believe they do.  Here’s how it plays out for teams:

At your company, it’s about more than hiring good people, it’s about securing the right people.  This involves understanding the difference between those who succeed at your company and those who don’t – despite their impressive resume and amazing interviewing skills.  Having the right people is great, but now you have to get them to work together, which involves getting them to know and trust one another.

Once you have that, you can start looking at how you can help this team achieve higher levels of productivity and commitment to excellence.  As a leader, think of tending a garden.  Your job is to provide the right amount of water, sunlight, food, etc. to make your garden flourish.  If you notice a plant not growing to its potential in one part of the garden, you move it to a better spot.  I’ll take the gardener over the command and control leader any day – and so will your employees.

Now that your team is productive and they realize they can achieve a level of excellence that can only be obtained by working together, they drive each other’s level of performance to new heights, making the team as a whole that much stronger.  The team leader plays the same role as the smart guide, serving as the steward of the other four factors, continually driving the reinforcing loop.

The best teams I’ve studied from business and in sports have all of these factors firing on all cylinders. Don’t let this throw you for a reinforcing loop!  Think about how these factors play into your organizational teams and tell us what you find out!

The Gift Of Feedback

When you receive feedback (positive or negative), see it as the gift that it is. Use it as fuel for reflection and continuous improvement.  Anyone who is great at anything is a product of people who were generous enough to provide them feedback along their learning journey.  We believed the message to be so important, we’re posting it a day early!  Enjoy!