Several years ago, when my partner and I decided to go our separate ways, the one and only concern that our clients had was that we would stop bringing them together once a quarter. They were very clear that one of the most valuable things we provided them was a diverse community of business and thought leaders. They emphasized how much they valued having all of the different points of view in the room, and the value of learning from other business owners and leaders to augment what we were teaching them.
We have been studying what the socioeconomic experts call “The Membership Economy”, captured brilliantly in the book of the same title by author Robbie Kellman Baxter. What the studies reinforce and what we have already experienced is that there is great power in structured peer learning/sharing programs. What a room full of growth-oriented business owners can learn together is 10x more than they could learn reading/studying the same topics by themselves.
So why is this? Why do we learn better with peer teams gathered together in a meeting room than we can learn in quiet study? Well, here are the Top 3 reasons I have seen and experienced with our clients over the last 18 years.
1. Learning Mindset
When we are by ourselves, we rely on self-motivation to get us through the book or video we have selected to grow our knowledge base. Just like at the office, you are pretty much on your own to keep yourself in learning mode. When you are surrounded by other people who have chosen to grow themselves just like you have, your energy and passion about learning grow considerably and you open up to more possibilities than you could ever have by yourself. The room becomes a motivational and inspirational environment for everyone in attendance as each of you bring a different perspective on the topic and how it applies to you and/or your industry.
When we read a book or watch a video on our own, it is far too easy to be distracted and attempt to be uber-productive by “multi-tasking”. To be honest, all that multi-tasking means is that you are doing more than one thing at a time, inefficiently and probably poorly. We often aren’t as focused on our learning, and even if we are, the learning tends to be inefficient as there is no guide or plan for doing anything with the learning. When we are in a shared learning environment, sitting in a group of other learners, we tend to pay more attention and allow fewer distractions to get in the way of our focus. This results in a deeper understanding of what was taught and better recall of the knowledge down the road.
3. Shared Experience
One of the things that is missing when we learn in solitude is the opportunity to interact with others who have read the same book, watched the same video, or even better, lived the experience. There is no opportunity to share your top three learnings with others and hear what they took away from the same material. This is the true value of book clubs, mastermind groups, and round tables – hearing all of the different perspectives and takeaways from your group. This often also includes some real-life learnings that are shared form others who have attempted to solve the same problems you are hoping to solve in your own business. One of the main things we tell all of our members is that every business owner in the room has either had the same problem as you in the past or is about to have it in the future and they just don’t know it. The 5-6 people at your table can help you devise a better, faster way to grow your business than you could ever do alone by sharing their perspectives on your business needs.
If you are ready to accelerate your growth by combining your own experiences with the experience of others on different points of the same path as you are on, join us at one of our monthly Members Days, where you will experience the power of community for your personal and business growth.
Author: Mark McNulty, Business Coach in Louisville, KY