The past two and a half days were filled with education, inspiration, and motivation for me. When was the last time you did that for yourself?
A few of us regularly present at the APC and EAIgnite conferences throughout the year. We always enjoy hanging out, sharing stories, and bouncing business ideas off one another. This time we arranged to stay an extra few days to brainstorm and learn from one another formally.
We created a peer group. We called it a mastermind; you might call it an internal network. If you’ve attended my Wine with Rhonda, it is similar in format.
[ctt template=”3″ link=”aad9s” via=”yes” ]We created a peer group. Here is what we did:[/ctt]
It was fantastic. I’m motivated and have a ton of new ideas and new ways of doing things. I can hardly wait to implement a few of the new ideas I came home with.
And short of our hotel room and food, it didn’t cost me extra.
I know that many of you, you aren’t given the opportunity to attend any training and will certainly never get approval to travel to a conference.
But you don’t have to. Sometimes the best learning is from others who do exactly what you do and are also looking to learn from you.
[ctt template=”3″ link=”Y0a8U” via=”yes” ]Sometimes the best learning is from others who do exactly what you do and are also looking to learn from you.[/ctt]
It doesn’t have to cost more than time. If you know someone you feel you can connect with, you should reach out and ask to have coffee, meet online, or exchange emails. Are you willing to learn, share, and get motivated? If you have two people that you want to create a peer group with, ask each of them to invite someone they think would be a good fit.
Create a no-cost peer group to keep you engaged, motivated, learning, and supported by someone who knows your challenges. You can share tech tips, earn your professional designation together, or share challenges in hopes of getting different solutions and perspectives.
Here are some suggestions for you to create a fantastic opportunity:
– Invite 4-8 people who are open, transparent, willing to learn, and willing to share. Peer groups are open to creating a learning and sharing space. You can have different jobs, but you do have to have commonalities to ensure everyone receives benefits and everyone can contribute.
– Meet either in person or online for an hour initially to set the stage to identify what everyone needs. If the team doesn’t know each other (although I suggest you do), it is a good chance for everyone to introduce themselves and share their goals or the purpose of the mastermind. Understand what is in it for everyone to participate. What do they need? What can you offer them?
Since my mastermind all knew one another (although not necessarily well), we agreed the last time we were all together to spend extra time on this trip for this meeting. We then opened up a Slack group to set the stage for what each of us wanted when we arrived. We wanted to discuss various subjects but didn’t get into solutions on our Slack channel. For instance, someone wanted to talk about social media platforms. No one jumped in online to share answers, but we all knew we would discuss this when we got together, so we gathered our own recommendations and brought them to our meeting.
– Create an agenda for the meeting otherwise, it will quickly become a social gathering. While social gatherings are fun and often inspire and motivate, they don’t fit the needs of a peer group. You can ensure you have social time if needed (we shared meals together), but when you are “working” you want to stay away from the social side of your gathering to ensure your time is well spent.
Since we agreed that we wanted to be focused and create benefits for everyone, we had an agenda to follow. You might decide to meet for lunch once a month, and with only a minimal time to share and learn, you may pick only one topic to discuss, but you do need an agenda.
– Create accountability. To me, this is one of the secrets to the success of my mastermind. We will follow up with each other periodically to check-in. Not to create guilt, but we all agreed that we needed accountability, otherwise, this was a great time together, but it won’t create change.
Maybe your mastermind has decided that you will work together towards your professional certification. You can review learning modules together, talk through things that are challenging to understand, and hold one another accountable to study, register for the exam, and follow through on your promises.
– Create rules of engagement. Promise one another you won’t leave early, you won’t skip meetings, and you won’t betray the group’s trust by sharing details of what is discussed with others.
Our first meeting was a huge success. We all walked away with pages of notes and ideas. It will be a challenge to implement them, but we are all committed to it.
Do you want the same kind of excitement about your job? Create your own peer group and get the energy going!