One of the things that I enjoy most about my work is that I get to meet all kinds of people in many different types of businesses. Each individual brings his/her own unique personality, skill set and strengths to the table.
When I meet a business owner who wants to join one of my roundtables, I carefully consider a number of things: •The industry their business is in
•The size of their company (revenue and # of employees)
•Location of their business (and/or home)
•The benefits they hope to gain from a roundtable
I also consider psychographic traits such as interests, values, attitudes and personality. I’ve discovered that pairing the right person with the right table is more art than science.
I must be doing something right because members rarely move from one roundtable to another; if I’ve done my job properly they develop a deep level of trust, respect and friendship with the other members. They become genuinely interested in helping make everyone at their table more successful.
That’s why I hated suggesting to Jim that he change groups. He was comfortable in his roundtable and brought unique and valuable insight to the members. They respected him and looked forward to seeing him each month.
But Jim lived clear across town and driving through the heart of the twin cities to get to his roundtable meeting this winter was no picnic. I had an opening in a roundtable that was 20 minutes from his home. He said he’d try it.
The meeting date arrived and Jim showed up; he seemed to like the other owners and had things in common with many of them. He shared his experiences when issues were presented and the members listened thoughtfully; some even took notes.
Then it was Jim’s turn to bring up the issue he wanted help on. He explained his situation, some of the things he’d already tried and what it would mean to him to have the issue behind him.
The members peppered him with questions, challenged some of his assumptions and gave him some very candid recommendations.
I could see Jim was surprised and even a little taken aback. This table of business owners was very different from the group he’d been in.
He was quiet as he left the meeting (I was a little worried); I promised to call him in a week or so to see if he wanted to make the change.
When I called Jim and asked about his thoughts he said, “Well, they really beat me up,” and then paused for a few seconds and added, “But I kind of liked it. They made me realize that I’d been putting off making changes that had to be made.” Needless to say, Jim joined the new roundtable and is enjoying his experience.
Whether you belong to a Raven Roundtable or to a competitors’ group, having the opportunity to bounce ideas and situations off other business owners is priceless.