Networking and being a part of a peer community has been a part of the Boomer vocabulary for most of our company’s life. Sharing experiences, hearing about the triumphs of our clients along with the challenges they are facing is affirming for us as we grow in our own careers, and in the ongoing corporate development. There is power in peer networks, however, it takes commitment from many different people to ensure maximum value is achieved.
We all know that "change is the only constant in life” according to Greek philosopher Heraclitus. With that in mind, the thought that we can learn all we need to know by staying in a bubble and trying to figure out how to manage our business, develop our talent, make decisions about technology; and how to create a vision for our future all by ourselves is a little overwhelming. In each of these areas, change is happening daily, and it is our responsibility as a leader to keep up to date on those changes and determine what will work best for our firm. This could be a full time job for anyone, but honestly, who has the time for that.
This is why peer networking has never been more important, and thankfully, more available. Today’s current and emerging leaders who ignore peer networks – which can make us smarter, more engaged and better connected – do so at their own risk.
As we work in our communities at Boomer including the Boomer Technology Circles, the CIO Advantage, the CEO Advantage, the P3 Leadership Academy’s and most recently the Producers Circle, we have witnessed the power of peer networking firsthand. We see the value in developing metrics, discovering solutions to problems, finding out about new tools, collaborating with vendor partners, sharing ideas with peers that you have known for years, and making new friends that often turn into lifelong friendships.
There are many reasons to get involved with peer networks and here are just a few that we have heard directly from our members:
- So Much Information, So Little Time Everyday there are books, newsletters, magazines, webinars and conferences that you can avail yourself to in order to gain the information on the interests in your professional world – but really – who has the time! The pace of business today demands that we learn fast. Peer networks present a ready-made community for absorbing best practices and learning from the collective experience of members. Collaboration with a group of professionals is an essential way to obtain a plethora of information in a short amount of time.
- Collaboration Is Better Than A Sole Proprietor Anyone who has participated in a brainstorming session can attest to the synergy and creativity sparked when peers with similar interests, challenges, issues and objectives come together. Tapping into the collective knowledge and enthusiasm of a peer group can be extremely powerful, especially when the forum offers a safe place to float new ideas and collaborate with colleagues who have similar goals. We have found that these collaborative communities are effective in providing support for firm challenges as well as advancing and tackling the broader profession issues.
- Power In The Pack Vendor relationships are a large part of running a successful firm today. It is easy to feel like a voice in the wilderness when dealing one-on-one with large vendors. Understandably, even the most committed partner cannot act on every client suggestion and request… nor should they. Communities can act as the bridge between what is happening in the firm and what the vendor partners are developing. Recommendations from and concerns voiced by peer groups command attention as they represent the collective voice of the vendor partners most knowledgeable and engaged clients. Progressive vendors understand the importance of engaging with peer networking groups in their profession. Through the sharing of best practices, adoption across companies occurred rapidly and is now an accepted practice.
- New Ideas and Awareness Professionals who work in isolation are at a higher risk for burnout and professional stagnation. User groups are a vital conduit to new ideas and fresh perspectives, offering numerous opportunities for in-person and virtual interaction. These environments, which foster a commitment to continuous sharing and learning, help to keep professionals sharp, engaged and connected.
- New Connections: Last, peer networking and communities provide a vehicle for meaningful professional friendships that will last for years. It is a personal and professional reward to participate, share, learn and collaborate in a community of smart and motivated professionals.
Opportunities to participate in the Boomer Communities abound! The important thing is to be actively involved and prepare to take a huge step forward in your personal and professional life.