NeuGroup News

Practicing Giving to Get

By August 14, 2019December 26th, 2019No Comments

Responding to member feedback on committee service.

My post last week on agenda planning and survey committees (APSCs) prompted a useful response from a member that I want to address. The post—in case you missed it—was about asking members to participate in committees comprised of a rotating subset of members for each meeting, with the goal of getting better input on what the group wants from peer group meetings.

The member who responded, who might well be expressing what others are thinking, wrote: “One of the things that initially strikes me about this is that, while I agree with the usefulness of member involvement in the planning, this seems, on paper at least, like somewhat of a wholesale shift of work to us.” He also said that securing and coaching session leaders struck him as “fairly administrative,” and expressed concern about the time commitment for treasurers. 

These are all fair points. In my response, I noted:

• We are trying to do more to tap into members’ connections and experience. Our intent with getting input on session leaders is to tap into members’ connections and experience, including connecting the group with knowledgeable people who individual members have had useful exchanges with before. “Coaching” may be as simple as saying, “We would like ‘X’ person to address ‘Y’ topic like they did with us, which we found extremely useful.” This also applies to what members would like to learn from solution providers and who they would like to hear from.

• We are mimicking the success of our new group steering committees. The APSCs replicate the steering committees we have traditionally used with new group launches to good effect. Essentially, we give the first-in founders the opportunity to shape the meeting agenda so they get the most out of it. Peers who join them later in the pilot meeting usually get a lot out of it, too. So it makes sense to bring this approach to ongoing group meetings. 

• We will still do the heavy lifting. NeuGroup will still do most of the work, which includes NeuGroup Peer Research (e.g., topic polls) conducted across all our groups each meeting cycle to determine what’s on your agenda, starting with your top projects and priorities. Using the results of this research, we are asking APSC members to provide frank input and context. This helps to ensure meeting sessions are targeted to member needs, that we focus on the most relevant aspects of the chosen topics, and that we address questions that will generate useful answers.

My colleague Anne Friberg, who came up with the committee idea, elaborated further:

• Getting broader input. We have found that either we get very little input after the topic poll stage or we get input repeatedly from the same people. By rotating members on the committees, we will get greater variety in perspective. 

• Not a lot of work. In addition to some email communication, being on the committee entails being on a few (2-3 max) calls with the peer group leader; the aim is to keep those calls to 30 minutes, 45 max, and to get through topic selection, session focus/angles and ideas for session leaders in an effective and efficient way. 

 Guiding our actions. The securing and coaching of session leaders is all about guiding the actions of peer group leaders whose role is facilitating successful meetings. The goal is not to delegate our work to others, but to have the committee’s input on session topics as well as how we frame objectives for the sessions and who we select to lead them. Member action beyond this is welcomed, but voluntary—as is all member participation in the APSCs.

Getting back time spent with NeuGroup

The one part of the member’s response to last week’s post that I failed to address adequately is the time members have available to devote to NeuGroup. 

“I’m a bit surprised that so many of the other treasurers feel they have the time to take this work on,” the member noted. “But perhaps I am just reading too much into the potential time commitment.”

With give-to-get as a core value of our company, I want members to agree that the more they put into their engagement with NeuGroup, the more they will get out of it. While that’s the ideal, we know that the practical reality of members having many other things to do means they have a finite amount of time to give us. So our challenge is: How do we make the most of the time members have to engage with us?

My answer is to give members the opportunity to connect with people confronting the same challenges they are now, or people who have already addressed the issue—or people who know someone else who can share relevant experience. Ultimately, I hope we can deliver some shared insight—a key takeaway—that will save them time. 

By asking members to do a bit of work, even as basic as telling us what they are working on or what they hope to get out of a meeting, we are in a much better position to facilitate time-saving knowledge exchange. 

We want to give you time back via your interaction with NeuGroup and not take time away. So please let me know if you believe you have a better answer to how NeuGroup can save you time and work.

Jacob Bromsey

Author Jacob Bromsey

More posts by Jacob Bromsey