115 Reasons to Join an Executive Peer Group

August 23, 2021 | 11 minute read

You’re banging your head against the wall. Most days, you love your work as a financial advisor, but today, a subordinate made a costly error, a long-term client was upset, and three prospects ghosted you. The only thing to do now is to go home, pour a drink, and vent to your partner, right?

Although that might be a band-aid for today, handling the frustrations of the financial planning profession this way is not going to improve your professional or personal life. This is reason #42 for why you need an executive peer group.

Executive peer groups are designed to take your business to the next level through the support of like-minded peers. Your group meets on a regular basis to discuss pain points, set and achieve goals, share ideas, and explore the latest trends in the industry. The main focus is on your professional growth and development both as an advisor and as a leader.  

How it works

Although the purpose is always similar, not all executive peer groups run exactly the same way. Here at Plancraft, we meet monthly for 90 minutes (sometimes 2 hours when the conversation is really good!) on video. Each group meets with the same 8-10 peers and a professional facilitator. At each meeting, we share a win to start the call on a positive note. Then, we dive into our challenges. Everybody gets to sit in the hot seat and have the full, undivided attention of the group. Challenges can involve specific questions, professional goals, the nuts and bolts of running a business, or simply just a broad discussion about the direction of your career. Challenges I’ve heard include:

“I feel like I’m at capacity, but I don’t have time to find and train an assistant.”

“I’m feeling dissatisfied at my current company, but I make good money and I like my clients.”

“I want to double my AUM in the next 12 months.”  

The majority of time is spent on challenges—discussing each other’s issues and providing support, feedback, and ideas. The facilitator will also ask each participant to share an update on the progress of their goals and ask, “What is one thing you plan to accomplish before we meet again?” Accountability is a major benefit of peer groups. 

The Secret Sauce

Successful groups embrace the concept of collaboration over competition. We’re all here to grow and level up. We have hundreds of years of experience and combined brain power in one Zoom room—that’s some real problem-solving potential right there! 

The secret sauce for our groups at Plancraft: all participants are financial advisors. These are colleagues that really understand the industry, pain points, and shared experiences. Often, they’ve had similar career paths.  We believe it is important to have a support network of like-minded peers who can appreciate the highs and lows of the job and the nuance of certain situations. It’s that combined experience that is so conducive for growth. Someone may have experienced something similar and can share what worked or what didn’t. They’ll likely have resource recommendations, saving others hours and hours of independent research. 

Another key ingredient in the secret sauce is a strong, dedicated facilitator. Their role is to support and empower the group, gently pushing participants to set higher goals and dig deeper into challenges. They’ll ensure the meetings run smoothly, take note of resources shared, and keep engagement strong and positive. 

That’s an important word: engagement. A successful participant is an engaged participant. Once you commit to a group, you must show up on time with your camera on and be ready to participate. Executive peer groups are powerful, but it’s really a team effort amongst all participants. 

Participating fully means being a little vulnerable, and that can be scary. However, groups are confidential so participants can share “the real stuff”. When we open up our minds and our ears, we can manage our lives and our businesses better.

Why join

When Planswell partners join an executive peer group, we ask on an intake form, “Why are you interested in joining?” This is important information to group them with folks who want the same things out of the experience. To my surprise, the reasons vary dramatically, yet each one is THE perfect reason to join. Check out these responses from a recent incoming cohort:

  1. To shorten the learning curve
  2. To build a network to share referrals

  3. To get ideas on how to approach prospective clients

  4. To be successful

  5. To better myself

  6. To stop struggling in business

  7. To make more money

  8. To create relationships

  9. To serve clients better

  10. To get my drive back

  11. To improve my closing ratio

  12. To celebrate successes

  13. To connect with people again after shutdowns

  14. To have another tool in my toolbox

  15. To help me transition back to work after extended time away

  16. To accelerate growth

  17. To get affirmation that I’m going in the right direction

  18. To find advisors to partner with

  19. To be more productive

  20. To get help

  21. To learn about marketing

  22. To start succession planning

  23. To hear HR best practices

  24. To learn what I can do better

  25. To get a mentor

  26. To gain a support system

  27. To practice lifelong learning

  28. To learn from mistakes

  29. To get encouragement

  30. To feel comradery

  31. To try something new

  32. To workshop with peers

  33. To improve my skills and knowledge

  34. To be a better advisor

  35. To learn something new after 40 years in the business

  36. To socialize with other advisors

  37. To gain knowledge from outside my organization

  38. To learn how to gain my desired type of clients

  39. To see what mastermind groups are all about

  40. To scale up

  41. To grow my connections

  42. To not drink my frustrations away

  43. To stop banging my head against the wall

  44. To have good conversations

  45. To enhance my strengths

  46. To improve my weaknesses

  47. To give back

  48. To be around like-minded professionals

  49. To get more diverse points of view

  50. To improve the quality of my service

  51. To kick-start growth after being stagnant

  52. To fasttrack my career

  53. To learn the ins and outs of the industry as a new advisor

  54. To spend time with people who are excelling

  55.  To enjoy some fellowship

  56. To get practical tips & tricks

  57. To fuel a 90-day blitz

  58. To add value to Planswell’s mission

  59.  To get collective wisdom from the group

  60. To create a fire under me

  61. To get fulfillment helping others

  62. To get knowledge of real world events

  63. To rise to the responsibility of being a leader in my firm

  64. To elevate each other

  65. To learn about trends in the marketplace

  66. To accomplish my goals

  67. To hone in on my personal beliefs

  68. To develop my personal philosophy

  69. To create action plans

  70. To get motivated

  71. To engage with my professional community

  72. To get support

  73. To contribute to others

  74. To get new ideas

  75. To collaborate with others

  76. To get a break from the day-to-day grind

  77. To elevate myself

  78. To find my voice

  79. To learn what’s working for others

  80. To learn what didn’t work for others

  81. To hear different points of view 

  82. To learn from more experienced advisors

  83. To learn modern trends from younger advisors 

  84. To get the most out of Planswell

  85. To learn best practices 

  86. To learn from peers how to better manage a practice

  87. To learn how to get more client referrals

  88. To learn how to overcome objections

  89. To hear different perspectives 

  90. To learn to share experiences

  91. To know I’m not alone in facing obstacles  

  92. To brainstorm ideas

  93. To enjoy time with peers

  94. To be held accountable

  95. To maximize growth 

  96. To master this system's sales pitch

  97. To share what I’ve learned with others

  98. To meet advisors from my generation

  99. To have a rewarding experience

  100. To work on a common goal

  101. To get coaching

  102. To gain an outside perspective

  103. To get best practices specific to Planswell

  104. To expand my abilities as an advisor

  105. To help other advisors

  106. To follow the advice of my colleagues

  107. To learn how to facilitate high-level discussions

  108. To be a resource for others

  109. To learn how to interact with the platform while on calls

  110. To understand as many aspects of the value equation as possible

  111. To learn better methods

  112. To start over in my career

  113. To work on my client onboarding process

  114. To be more disciplined over long periods of time

  115. To meet my goal of bringing in three new accounts per month

We also ask about their previous experience in similar groups. Of those with peer group experience, one hundred percent said the opportunity was positive and valuable, and they were eager to join another. 

I encourage you to give your spouse or partner a break by bringing your shop talk to an executive peer group. We’re eager to hear what’s on your mind.

Sharing is caring!
Isabel Leong

Planswell Community Success Manager

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