One of my all-time favorite business books is Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi. If you haven’t read it, run (don’t walk) to get and read it. It is the single best book on networking and business relationships.
Keith’s new book (and best seller) is called “Who’s Got Your Back” and takes the Never Eat Alone principles a step further discussing how they apply to a few key relationships in your life; the people who will be there to help you achieve your goals. I am proud to have been quoted in Who’s Got Your Back (p 242) discussing the value of the program run by the Entrepreneurs’ Organization called “forum”. The Forum program allows entrepreneurs to have a group of peers to support them and help them. It has also been called business therapy for business owners. Other say it is like having your own board of directors.
So why is forum one of EO’s highest rated programs? Because it answers Ferrazzi’s question of “Who’s got your back?”. Participants meet monthly discussing their challenges and sharing experiences. Everything discussed during the forum meetings is treated with the utmost of confidence. The primary rule is that no one may give advice as this would destroy the peer-to-peer nature of the group. Instead, after hearing the issue, participants can ask insightful questions (as long as you are not giving advice in the form of a question) as well as well share relevant experiences that may help with the presenter’s issue.
It takes training and practice to refrain from giving advice as people naturally like to tell others what to do. Without it, however, you avoid creating issues among participants. For instance, if a member tells another what to do, and it doesn’t work out, then there can be “baggage” between those people. Further, when someone tells you what to do you, you destroy the peer-to-peer relationship. This simple rule has allowed some forum groups to thrive sometimes remaining together for well over a decade.
It is lonely as a business owner. Everyone looks to you for the answers. But where do those at the top of the pyramid obtain answers? Consider participating in a support group so that you have peers who can say “I got your back”.
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