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Sunday, 12 February 2012

Struggling With a Tough Problem? A Peer Group is the Best Solution!

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned a long established Vistage mantra:

“No-one is as smart as all of us”

One of my Vistage CEO members liked it and put it on to several social networking sites.  Somewhat to my surprise, it resulted in quite a few interesting comments.

The idea of the mantra is that a peer group of like-minded people can offer a range of possible solutions for any issue which may well not even have been considered if one is acting in isolation.

There is no doubt that a typical Vistage group will offer a range of solutions to any issue brought before it, some of which can be very much off the wall.  On the other hand, an individual working in isolation could often look for an immediate and obvious solution rather than necessarily taking the time out to consider options.

Many of the people who commented on Twitter et al took the quote to imply that it is better to work in a team than alone which isn’t quite what was intended.

The big advantage of the Vistage type peer group is that ideas and concepts can be put forward and discussed in a safe and confidential environment and among participants who have no hidden agenda or an axe to grind.

There is a subtle difference between that and any typical internal team in a business where there can be hidden agendas and, worse, the occasional power play.  That can mitigate against effective discussions and hence effective results.

In general the team approach is usually more effective than the individual one, but it is most important to ensure that participants are encouraged to offer opinions which may be at odds with that of the management and the business.  If there is any fear of potential reprisals for speaking out, then the result is corridor conferences and cliques developing around the coffee machine.

This is not to say that there is anything amiss with team building but in the end, there must be a no-blame culture, a freedom of opinion and an understanding that whatever ideas are put forward, however unusual or even bizarre, will be considered without fear or favour.

But to discover how effective a real peer group can be in offering solutions to burning issues, then watch a Vistage group in action. 

Please note, you’ll have to join to find out why it works so well.

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