The Importance Of Having Positive Peers

Issue 61

Andrew Marsh is a leading business mentor, company owner, Non Executive director and Vistage chair in the North East.

Throughout the last few months he has seen the ups and downs of many of the companies in the region and the changing face of business life. Here, he shares the importance of MD’s, Business Owners and CEO’s having peers, and how important it is to find a peer or peer group that has a positive impact.

“The North East is a resilient business community, that faces a specific set of challenges across our extended geography. Our range of industries and skill sets are so wide spread, and we are often hit by slumps harder than elsewhere in the country.

“But in recent years what has emerged is that we are strong folk and, most importantly, we want to help each other. The North East is no place for unhealthy wall building competition, it is a place where we support, and encourage, others to do well.

“That is what at Vistage, in a nutshell, we exceed in.

“Our talent for matching peers who can support, champion and embolden each other is time proven. Our peer advisory groups have a strength in numbers, which means not only do they pull together, but that no-one ever feels alone in a challenging time.”

Whilst help and support from Vistage and its peer groups can focus on a company or organisational challenge, many times Andrew and the peer groups help on a personal level too. He explains: “For me it isn’t all about selling the membership. I don’t have to do that as the benefit speak loudly and those who do join, recommend it no end. For me, when I reach out personally, it’s about feeling good at the end of the day. I help many people who don’t at that time feel in a position to join Vistage, because I feel that what goes around, comes around.”

A woman who is testament to that is Anika Ephraim. Anika was MD of a engineering company in the North East up until recently. When her personal circumstances changed she decided to move home, back to the North West and she is now looking for her next challenge. However, the change would have been a lot harder if she didn’t have people on her side.

Andrew Marsh works with Anika, who joined his free peer group during lockdown, giving her advice and support, and mentoring her in her new choices. Anika said: “When I first met Andrew it was with a view to joining his Vistage group. And one day I will. But when my circumstances changed, Andrew offered to help me independently. He is helping make connections in my new area, as I have been away for 20 years, and he is sharing his network. He is extremely generous with his time, almost philanthropic with it. His support is building my confidence and giving a sense of normality to what are huge changes!”

Andrew is also leading the way with EB High Performing Boards, where he examines the effectiveness and performance of organizations’ boards. He donates part of his revenue to The Experience Bank, where startups and charities are supported. He said: “Change brings about opportunity, but if you are too close to a situation you sometimes can’t see that. That’s when a positive peer or peer group really comes into its own. They will keep your mindset right and knowing your have the right people in your corner gives you added heart.

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