Friday, June 4, 2010

Roundtables4Rountables Part 1

I spent the last few days in scenic Oneonta, New York. It is a small town in upstate NY – middle of farm country – with a down home feel and a wonderful view. Our trip from Albany was about an hour through more trees than there are in the entire state of Iowa I think. If we leveled the hills a bit, took off the trees, and put pigs where the dairy cows were it could be home. I will be posting a series of blogs on this topic over the next days. It was a very enlightening couple days.

My trip was to participate in the roundtables4roundtables forum. It was a group of groups – a mastermind group for those who provide mastermind groups. There were six companies represented at this event. What makes this group unique is that each organization focuses on a specific vertical – so unlike the Vistage/Tec/C12 model where business decision makers cross industry meet regularly to share – these organizations all focus on a specific vertical with very narrow focus.

We had orgs that served dental, optometry, home remodelers, museums, health clubs and of course IT which I represent. I had some concern going in that there would be too much difference between us to get enough value from the time and expense investment. Boy was I wrong. As is almost always the case in life – 80% of what we all do is pretty much the same – and the 20% that is unique to our industries was still close enough to add value.

In the end we are all dealing with the same thing – PEOPLE. That is the challenge for all organizations. People that are too busy, don’t execute, fail to get things done on time, are slow to pay, have life issues, struggle getting buy in from partners and staff, don’t take time to plan or set goals… know the drill. It is you and me. All of us struggle in a lot of ways which is why wisdom sharing/roundtables/mastermind groups/peer groups/affinity groups/bull sessions – you pick your term of the day – it is the fact that we are people with all those needs that make these groups so powerful and necessary.

One thing that was unique about this group is that the HTG experience of 10 years made us one of the youngest companies in the room. That is not something I get to see often. It didn’t make me one of the youngest guys – just leading one of the younger organizations. But there was a big wealth of experience as we shared with each other. Some of these folks have been doing this over 20 years and there is nothing that replaces experience in getting great advice to help a business grow. So I was really blessed to be part of this event and learn from some real pros.

Bottom line – we all have problems. We can learn a lot from one another by being transparent and sharing life together. If you are trying to go the journey alone – you are missing the greatest tool available to you – the power of peers and community. It does make a difference if you let it!

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