Using peer review as a strategic competitive advantage
Many company leaders are strong-willed individuals. While this can be a strength, it can also reveal itself as a dangerous strand of stubbornness that can negatively impact a business. Some may struggle with obtaining and integrating advice from peer groups.
Common feelings CEOs and presidents express about having peer review (i.e. board of directors, advisory board, outside committees, a business or executive coach, etc.) include:
- “What if people find out I don’t have a strong vision and action plan for my company?”
- “I’m not that comfortable communicating internally… or externally.”
- “Will I lose authority by involving others in my thinking?”
- “Will a board (committee, coach, etc.) interfere with my decision making?”
- “It costs too much and takes too long.”
- “I know what I’m doing, and people should focus on my getting it done.”
- “What happens if I try something (based on peer review) and it fails?”
- “I don’t really understand what the board (committee, etc.) was trying to say.”
- “It’s a pain.”
Just because a company uses peer review of some kind doesn’t mean it’s effective, however. Organizations already using peer review may be on the wrong path if they see the following happening:
- Peer review group agendas not focused on vision, future direction, policy, strategy, KPIs and financial results.
- SMART goals not established.
- Peer review participants unwilling to voice their opinions.
- Company making adjustments for individual people’s needs without consideration for the company’s mission.
- Minimal communication from the owner, president or CEO.
- Decline or stagnation in company growth.
- Key employees leaving the company.
If you observe these situations in your organization (or you’re observing these situations as a trusted advisor), you might consider recommending or improving the process by inviting people to serve in a peer advisory capacity who:
- Are financially independent from the company.
- Are not afraid to voice their opinions.
- Know things you don’t.
- Agree with the company’s mission, vision and values.
- Agree to be open to suggestions, listen to and work closely with peers who desire to bring new life to the company.
If used properly, peer review is an excellent way to provide your organization perspective to improve governance, business operations and product/service growth.
Our ThistleSea team advises that 2017 business planning and budgeting should begin now. Evaluate your current peer review efforts to gain additional expertise and ideas. Adding an advisor, business coach or a peer review group to assist you might give you the advice and guidance you need to excel. Just be open enough to take their good advice and put it into action.
Contact a ThistleSea team member if we can help you and your company create a peer review process. Doing so should help your company grow revenue, expand operations and help you to personally prosper.