How To Choose The Best Peer Group For You

Issue 96

There is a plethora of peer group led groups emerging across the UK and the North East with them all promising a host of solutions, so how can you know which is right for you as an individual?

Here Peter Neal, founder of Experience Bank Group, talks through hints and tips to find your way forward and know where to commit your time and energy for the best return.

“Having founded a number of peer group development programmes, I have always ensured that the recruitment process firstly ensures that the group is right for the person and, just as importantly, that the new person is right for the group.

“Bringing new people into an environment of trust needs to be done sensitively to not undermine the bond, confidence and dynamic of the existing members. Equally, a new person needs to know they are welcome and slip quickly into becoming a peer.

“How seriously that is taken by the facilitator and group is a great barometer as to what kind of group it is and whether it is for you. The Experience Bank peer group for existing and aspiring NEDs, Trustees, Board Advisors and Consultants to Boards only accepts one new member a month per cohort for exactly these reasons. Prior to joining, prospective members are introduced to a buddy who is already a member and can give an honest and insightful account of the sessions prior to the new member’s first meeting.

“For me it makes sense to put that effort in, as the established members of the cohorts need to know that it isn’t a revolving door for anyone to try. Good peer groups need commitment, and to become a community connected by common ground. That would be disrupted by people coming and going.

“If you are a person who takes commitment seriously, then you should also check if your potential peer group has a charter, that all the members sign, promising the right behaviours including a commitment to attend meetings regularly.

“I’d also look at the other forms of support you receive for your membership. This isn’t a one size fits all, but our members value the contact with each other between meetings, both inperson, through our WhatsApp group and our pre- and post-meeting email newsletters.

“Research their social media to see the other members and check out the calibre of their businesses. Is their knowledge and support going to be the impact you need? Check reviews and also look into the facilitator and their reputation. Any peer group is only as good as the people in it, that’s a fact! Our groups have quality talent from a range of backgrounds and it is always inspiring to see how they offer solutions and process issues with each other, in true collaboration under the guidance of Andrew Marsh. Andrew is not only an industry pioneer, he is an experienced facilitator of twelve peer groups of leaders across the UK, for Vistage as well as Experience Bank Group.

“Finally look to see if the peer group organisation’s ethics fit with your own. Experience Bank Group for example incorporates The Experience Bank philanthropic, social enterprise company along with a commercial venture providing three symbiotic services – EB Board Level Recruitment, EB High Performing Boards and EB Continuous Personal Development.

“5% of all revenue from Experience Bank Group is gifted to The Experience Bank social enterprise to enable more start-ups, early-stage businesses, charities and social enterprises access to high quality, advisory and nonexecutive talent.”

If you are keen to know more then visit or call Peter on 07843 329393.

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