Do any of these statements describe you?
- I would like some new ideas to avoid blind spots, to not just do it the way we’ve always done it – and to learn from someone outside my area.
- I’m burnt out and overwhelmed with the challenges in front of me. I need a shot of energy from someone else!
- It’s lonely growing a business. I need someone to share my thoughts with from a business perspective.
- I’m out of ideas to solve problem X. Surely someone has this figured out.
If so, you’re not alone. These are some of the reasons participating in a peer group can be valuable. Business leaders can build a community of like-minded people to gain accountability, overcome isolation, and tackle high-level problems and concerns.
“Pinion has led peer groups for over 10 years, and we are continually impressed with the learning that happens in that trusted space,” says Justin Mentele, manufacturing market leader for Pinion.
How does a peer group work?
In a peer group, participants gather two to three times a year with a small group of manufacturers to learn from and with each other. A professional facilitator organizes the meeting and agenda and manages the flow of conversation and information-sharing. Some content is shared from external experts. Some is from members teaching members and serving as each other’s advisory boards.
The key is to build trusted relationships with people that share common challenges. Regardless of whether you’re making similar products or live in the same region, you have many of the same opportunities and headaches. In fact, we generally don’t allow group members located near each other to be in the same group. This allows members to speak more openly without any competitive concerns.
Support for the highs and lows
Trust and confidentiality are critical components to a healthy group. Members quickly invest in each other personally and want the best for their friend. That allows you to share your concerns candidly – and allows group members to hold you accountable or point out your blind spots.
Members share all sorts of nuts-and-bolts information about financing, equipment, human resources, inputs and other topics. They also support each other through the hard life events that impact both personal lives and the business. These relationships often span years; Pinion has a group going on year twelve together. There are various options for peer groups in our industry in different formats.
“Even if you don’t join a formal group, consider the power of gathering some friends regionally with an intentional agenda of shared ideas,” encourages Davon Cook, Pinion Family Business advisor. “After the scores of peer group interactions I have led, I’m still humbled by the power of people helping other people succeed.”
Pinion organizes and facilitates peer groups for manufacturing professionals to support you in your journey. Learn more about how peer groups work and how you can get connected, here.