Learning by Sharing, and Sharing our Learnings

Ever since I had my calling to work with families facing the challenges of transitioning their business to the next generation, I’ve found a wonderful kinship with others who work at guiding families towards this same goal.

The ecosystem surrounding such families continues to evolve and mature, as professionals from various fields of origin continue to find themselves in situations where collaborating together is an essential ingredient for getting the best results for the families who engage us.

Various peer groups have sprung up over the years, and as someone who’s been working mostly solo, I find it hard to resist joining them, so that I can continue to learn and share what I’ve been learning.

Having just returned from the annual in-person gathering of one such group, this topic is fresh and top-of-mind for me, and I want to share some of the perspectives I came home with.

A Wicked Case of “Groucho Marx Syndrome”

I was invited to join this particular group just before the pandemic, and even though most of its members have a certain professional status that I lack, I feel like my contributions are welcomed.

When I set aside my “why would I want to be part of a group that would have me as a member?” I can actually appreciate all that we bring to each other as a group of like-minded peers.

During a quick discussion with a small group a one point, someone mentioned the “container” that we provide for each other to pour our shared experiences into.

Another added that we understand ourselves better in relation to the group as we do this.

As individuals who often find themselves as the only non-family person in a room during the toughest parts of our job, this work can be lonely at times, and sharing with others who’ve experienced the same thing is cathartic and allows for personal and professional growth.

A More Recent Example

My involvement with a different organisation has me in the middle of launching another peer group, this one involving members who serve families from a variety of different professions of origin.

It will be interesting to see how this one evolves, and what we will each get out of the experience.

It’s always best to approach such situations with an open mind and an attitude of abundance, as opposed to arriving with a closed mind and a scarcity view of the world.

Thankfully those folks typically self-select out of such opportunities.

What About the META Part?

One of the most fascinating aspects of the work that goes into the organisation, launch, and maintenance of such groups (and make no mistake, it does take work) is how everything we learn in these efforts is applicable to so much of what we do with the families we serve.

The things we do to successfully engage with and learn from peers is almost perfectly transferable to the work that families require assistance with.

As peers who share with each other, we learn about ways that families can and should share.

As we co-create ways that we are going to govern our groups, we learn about ways that we can guide families as they develop their family governance policies.

As we share leadership in our groups, we learn about how to make co-leadership and co-creation work well in the families we serve.

As we facilitate our sessions with each other, we learn what makes some methods work better than others, and we practice new ways of being with each other, which helps us when we do so with families.

The Constant Challenges of Engagement and Alignment

All such peer groups face similar challenges, from their launch, through their evolution and into their maintenance stages. Eventually, things typically stagnate at some point, and a fresh look and new focus with some changes in leadership is often required.

Again, there are strong parallels to the work we do with families.

As I wrote back in 2020 in Family Engagement and Family Alignment – Chicken and Egg families need to constantly work on keeping all family members engaged, and working on their “alignment” is frequently required.

Likewise, when there are challenges keeping them aligned, working on their engagement is helpful.

From now on whenever anyone asks me why I choose to get involved in so many of these peer groups, I’ll just refer them to this post.