Throughout this challenging time, there is one message that continues to bring a great deal of comfort: “We are in this together.” We are all facing some degree of paralyzing uncertainty and intense challenge. Though our individual situations may be quite different, some experiences these days seem universally shared:
— Our personal and business lives are even more enmeshed than normal as the boundary between work and home is obliterated
— We are continually working to ensure the safety of our loved ones and employees (and those who are both!)
— We’re faced with critical decisions about our businesses that are more frequent and uncommon than ever before
In a recent peer session of family businesses, we heard a clear message from one of the participants: “Coming together with other family businesses to discuss today’s challenges continues to be valuable to me. Hearing from each other, getting your support, is helping me keep my head above water.” In this moment, family business leaders are recognizing the clear importance of connection to their business peers.
But these peers are getting more from one another than just commiseration. In other recent peer group sessions, we have seen and heard exchanges that remind us why this outlet and source of advice is so valuable, especially in crisis times. Peer groups:
— Provide a forum for people to relate to one another; being together provides a reminder that we aren’t alone in our challenges
— Reflect back to us what might be challenging to see on our own
— Give people space to brainstorm and solution new ideas for ways to move forward without the risk of censure or disapproval
— Serve as a safe venue to candidly share ideas about what’s worked and what hasn’t worked for them
— Provide accountability and support/cheerleading
— And sometimes just listen
— Provide opportunities to both learn and teach—sometimes your experience is a guide to others in ways that may surprise you, and it can be just as meaningful to offer support and advice as it is to get it
Are you hearing the same things? What function do peer groups play for you? We’d love to hear from you about what you are learning! Join the conversation here, and/or let us know if we can help you find a peer support network. Comment below or email firstname.lastname@example.org.