Leading a start-up or early-stage company can be a lonely pursuit. And society, which is obsessed with self-help to achieve whatever business or personal goal we have in life, has led us to believe that self-help means by-yourself-help. It doesn't. As I talk with people leading incubator and accelerator programs across the world, more and more of them are organizing mastermind group or peer groups for entrepreneurs.
Why? We do better when we do it together.
The reinforcing loop depicted above is among the biggest reasons that peer groups for business leaders work so well. I'll start with this comparison: think about any book club worth its salt. Each member reads the book and brings his/her unique perspective on the content to the group. After an hour or two, there isn't one member who doesn't understand the narrative and its context more deeply and more broadly than before the conversation began. By examining the book through everyone's mental models, we become exposed to ideas and perspectives we would never have considered on our own.
We learn best in a group environment. Entrepreneurs who share concepts and ideas with one another also help generate deeper understanding. Better yet, they give each other the courage to act – to actually apply what they learn. It's one thing to become enamored with an idea, it's quite another to implement it. Once they try it, and as they work to perfect the new initiative, they begin to achieve the positive results they imagined. The group celebrates member wins together, which only inspires everyone to learn more and continue the cycle.
Entrepreneurs can help each other in ways they won't find anywhere else. Don't go it alone when you don't have to. Give it a try!