Most would say that mentors are essential, but unfortunately, a lot of mentor relationships fall apart after a few months because there is no formal structure to support them.
That’s where the concept of the peer adviser group comes into play. Last year, I interviewed Gabe Padva, CEO of Evolve Investment Group in Vancouver, British Columbia, for the Wall Street Journal. Gabe formed two such groups after meeting fellow business owners through networking. “I felt that these were people who could take me to the next stage of my career and help me reach the $1 million revenue mark,” he said at the time.
Mr. Padva’s groups meet regularly to discuss and set priorities for their businesses. For example, one of Mr. Padva’s goals was to provide additional value to five of his investors. “In the group, I’d be asked questions like, what does the finished outcome look like, why is this important, and is this the best I can do? We really push each other.”
Peer adviser groups meet a need that sometimes even your family and closest friends can’t fill. Keith Ferrazzi, who wrote about the concept of lifeline groups in his book “Who’s Got Your Back,” says that the most effective groups are ones in which the members can be candid and also let their guards down with one another. Not only do the most effective groups ensure accountability, they also teach us to continually set big picture goals, to receive and process feedback in a productive way, and to change negative attitudes and behaviors.
The concept of a lifeline group sounds appealing, but isn’t forming and sustaining one a tall order? Actually, it’s best done a little at a time. The first few people you approach might not be a good fit, but once you solidify one relationship, you can begin adding others to the group.