Yesterday my partner Leo Bottary posted an article about how a peer group can be a gym for leaders. Many years ago Jack Welch was responsible for introducing to me the concept of a business “workout.” Not that I know Jack personally, but I was honored to meet him once! I talked about it in an episode long ago.
Jack’s GE workouts involved problem confrontation and change acceleration. Welch wanted to break away from the bureaucracy and all the associated behaviors that accompany it. Instead, he fostered continuous focus, efficient decision making and fast execution. According to an article published by Booz & Company in 2003, “all but 9% of the approved ideas were followed through.”
Getting to the heart of the matter in fast order was a major objective. Speed kills. And Welch knew it. His workout idea took form in 1987 and was incorporated into the fabric of GE up to the time he walked out the door in 2002.
I bring up the GE workout because it’s why The Peer Advantage is the greatest opportunity for you to grow your business, your leadership and your life. It’s a workout. It’s designed to elevate your fitness.
Welch’s GE workout involved multiple people from various sectors of the company. He wanted diversity because he fostered a degree of combustion he knew teams didn’t always foster. Jack wasn’t trying to create strife, but he want creative tension provided by various viewpoints.
Who you surround yourself with matters. Leo Bottary used that for the tagline in our first podcast, Year Of The Peer. The notion has more ancient origins. 1 Corinthians 15:33 “Be not deceived: Evil companionships corrupt good morals.”
Your mom and dad knew it. You passed it on (or tried to) with your children. Who we hang around influences us. For good. Or bad. Show me a person’s closest friends and I’ll be able to see, with a high degree of accuracy, how that person likely lives.
The Peer Advantage is intentionally diverse. Entrepreneurs from various industries, backgrounds, and experiences provide high value. This is how blind spots can be overcome. Multiple viewpoints provide combustion that isn’t destructive, but one that behaves like an engine, it moves us forward.
GE workouts were conducted and led by a senior leader who was part of the workout. This person wasn’t a silent observer, but rather was part of the process. Facilitation is critical. Group discussions – effective group discussions – require effective leadership.
As the chairman of The Peer Advantage my role is to help the group form and live up to the values established. My role isn’t to hold forth or to make unilateral decisions. Instead, my role is to help keep the discussions on point and moving forward knowing that every individual member’s contributions add to create the whole. The power is in the collective and that includes the guide (chairman, facilitator, etc.).
Now the GE workout was about problem-solving within a single corporate environment. This is where The Peer Advantage differs dramatically. At GE the workout leader was empowered to quickly approve or disapprove of ideas. Speed was the key.
Speed is also the key with The Peer Advantage, but since everybody at the table is running their own company, there’s nobody who is going to quickly approve or disapprove of anything. The speed is in the process to help each member of the group – and the group collective – to figure it out. But each person is obligated to decide for themselves without any judgment from the group. That safety provides an environment that fosters comfort, compassion and commitment.
At GE the workout didn’t allow for taking anything under advisement. Decisions were made on the spot. That pressure can (and clearly did have) positive results inside GE’s culture. The Peer Advantage puts pressure on something else – the truth. Your truth.
What’s the best decision YOU can make for your business, your leadership and your life? That’s not the same pressure as the pressure on what somebody else should do. They’re not you. You’re not them. The pressure is on helping each member figure it out for themselves. Owning the problem is just the beginning of owning the solution. The group’s aim is to help accelerate everybody’s ability to figure it out, but the group’s aim is not to make the decision for you. Rather, we want to help empower each other to decide for ourselves.
The Peer Advantage Workout Promise
My why is important. I want to help people grow great. Growing great is possible, but it’s hard. Worthwhile, but difficult. It’s easier and much more fun when others are traveling alongside us, helping us, encouraging us, challenging us and guiding us. Sharing experiences with compassionate people will to serve, and to be served is the promised deliverable. Surrounding ourselves with people working hard to grow will help us grow.
Are you a small business owner in the United States ready to grow and elevate your leadership? Are you ready to improve the people who surround you so you can get on with being the best version of yourself? Then I hope you’ll apply to The Peer Advantage by Bula Network today. Go to BulaNetwork.com/apply and complete that short form. I’ll contact you and we’ll schedule a time to talk on the phone. It’s step one toward a workout that will change your life!
Be well. Do good. Grow great!