Welcome to The LoCo Perspective. We're working to build an electronic publication that small business owners, aspiring small business owners, and even regular normal people (anyone know any of these?) - want to send to their friends! If we do it right, the content you find here will be short, simple, and valuable, with a dash of humor and a smidgen of community connection.
I'll get the elevator speech out of the way upfront for those wondering what we actually do. LoCo Think Tank assembles groups of abundance-mindset small business owners for monthly meetings facilitated by high-achieving former small business owners (the LoCo Facilitators). These give-back mindset individuals are attracted by the purpose and the impact of the role; and the members join chapters for the accountability, perspective, and encouragement offered by a safe place with their peers. It's not a support group, it's an excellence manufacturing center! So how does peer advisory work? And why? And what do you do for four hours in a meeting?
The how is centered around perspective - decisions made with more perspective tend to be better. The why is focused in the accountability and encouragement from the group - these are your peers, with businesses of their own, and they want the best for you. Studies show that most people learn from peers better than from a coach or a teacher - it seems to be a credibility thing. So when you combine this perspective, accountability, and encouragement you have a recipe for a business person's special sauce - the ability to make decisions more quickly and with increased confidence, and cross pollinating tools and techniques from one industry to another.
And what do groups do for four hours? - plenty! First, we check in with each other. Each member is asked to rank their current business and personal state of affairs from 1 to 10 on the white board, and then explain your numbers for the group. We follow that with a short report from the prior month's Focus Member, and then a comprehensive presentation from the current month Focus Member. The Focus Member gives a 30-minute presentation with key business background - org chart, key short-term and long-term strategies, financial overview, SWOT analysis, and the like. Following the presentation is the issue processing - the issue/opportunity/challenge that you'd like the group's input on. It starts with a question: Should I...fire my Sales Manger/buy a smaller competitor/close my south location? After some background, the group goes into Clarifying Questions mode. This gives the members an opportunity to gather more perspective and clarity about the person's issue using the Socratic Method. After all the questions have been addressed, it's time for suggestions, which might include resources, stories of their own navigation of this issue, and the like. The presenter receives the suggestions, chooses their action items, and the group provides follow-up accountability.
After the Focus Member's issue processing, there's typically time for two more at-large issue processings with other members. These 30-minute sessions don't include the comprehensive presentation, but go right to work on the issue. During the lunch session that most groups opt to include, the chapters review progress toward goals, discuss prospects on the radar or those business owners they'd like to attract to the group, and similar. The LoCo Facilitator manages the entire meeting. They set agendas, help decide whose issues need priority treatment, track goals, address priorities, and help keep the meeting on time.
So there you have it! Not magic, but the results can seem magical. As trust grows, the special sauce thickens and richens, and once-skeptical members begin to treat the meeting as their most important four hours each month.