Leapfrog ahead by seeking out peers outside your organization

Posted on July 22, 2011

Summary From talking to CIOs, CTOs, and IT directors I've discovered that few of them know their peers at other organizations. And even fewer regularly interact and discuss issues of substance with those same peers, even though they share many similar concerns. One of the benefits of a good consultant is that they can share what has worked elsewhere. But you can do a lot of this on your own. Here is how to do it.

In my consulting work I talk to a lot of CIOs, CTOs, IT directors, and IT managers.

I am routinely amazed at how few of them know their peers at other organizations -- let alone regularly interact and discuss issues of substance with them.

I've even joked that some of the advice they (my client) pay me for could be eliminated. After all, one of the benefits of a good consultant is that they can share what has worked elsewhere.

(Of course, in the next breadth, I also go out of my way to to remind them that they would not have gotten this idea if they hadn't made the wise decision to hire me on to begin with. Alas, they get any ideas...)

After pointing this out to several clients, I've suggested they do something about it. That is, they start benefiting from the sharing of best practices and commons struggles with their peers at other organizations.

If you want to start brainstorming with a trusted peer -- and I suggest you should -- here is how to do it: 

The key to it being an effective investment of your mutual time, energy, and focus is to help each other brainstorm and create peer-level accountability that helps you both. By this I mean that you will be helped as individuals (in your professional roles) and, in turn, your organizations will benefit as well. To do this, you need to set aside time to meet regularly and both commit to candor, confidentiality, and thoughtfulness.

One to two hours every month or even two to three hours every few months is a modest investment to make relative to the benefits of collaborating with a peer at another organization. In fact, you may discover it is so rewarding and pays such dividends that you want to seek out more than one peer to do this with regularly.

If you end up doing the above, and feel like doing so, please drop me a note. I'd love to hear your story.

Enjoy.

-jr


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