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As a leader, have you ever committed to something you regretted within days? Only to find a graceful exit more complicated than you’d like?

Most local business leaders belong to a number of organizations. Civic groups, social organizations, professional associations, networking groups, charitable boards, school and religious committee’s to name a few.

There are many ways to play.

The visibility and role local business leaders play in their communities provide for many opportunities to join. A dangerously too many opportunities to join.

Over-Joining Can Diminish Leadership Development

Ironically, I find many business leaders over-join to the point of denying themselves what is perhaps the most essential form of community they need for the well-being of their leadership lives, as well as the communities in which the serve.

Local business leaders would do well to invest in the kind of community where the protocols, dynamics and content come together to develop their capacities as leaders.

This type of joining sharpens the saw through leadership development.

Wherever leadership development has made its mark, business development is almost sure to follow.

Business Development in Community

There are a handful of traits within groups I find most helpful to developing ones business. These apply to any level of leadership across any industry. They are reflected here in the acrostic PRACTICE as a reminder that the best form of business development is practiced in community.

NOTE: Just to be transparent here, they also relate to the kinds of groups I facilitate – most commonly known as CEO Groups or Mastermind Groups. To this kind of community I have committed the majority of my professional life.

Here are the community traits to PRACTICE:

Peer Participation – Business development communities work best if participants are peers in their roles, life stages, challenges, goals or in some identifiable way.The peering of a group ensures that it maintains a focus on what is relevant to everyone.

Relevant Content – Look for a steady stream of best practices, timeless principles and accumulated wisdom pertaining to your daily experience as a leader. Seek teaching and training that will help you in knowledge, understanding and wisdom through concepts and ideas relevant to your business.

Action Oriented – The best kind of learning leads to action. As a leader, it is the ultimate way of paying it forward. Take what you receive from your group and put it into practice. Not only will this benefit the team and community in which you lead, but it aids in the functioning of the group itself.

Confidentiality – What is discussed in your group should stay in the group. The only way to expand the boundaries of what the group covers is to respect the boundaries of what it discusses. Confidentiality creates an essential trust that will allow the group beyond meaningless generalities. This leads to the next trait.

Transparency – An effective CEO or Mastermind Group checks pretense at the door. Being inauthentic in this setting is merely a socially accepted form of dishonesty. Transparency among members allows them to materially grapple with real issues as opposed to polite and distant nods to mere ideas.

Interrogative – This is a refinement to the idea of accountability, which carries more than its fair share of baggage due to misuse and overuse. We need people to speak into our leadership lives. But not so much by telling, as by asking. We need people who will ask uncomfortable questions without trying to provide ready solutions.Challenge me and move me. Don’t try to fix me.

Commitment – A CEO Group or Mastermind Group requires commitment both to the group and to what you give and gain in the group. Afterall, it’s your group. If you want the rewards, you must budget for it in time, money and attention.

Externally Facilitated – Leaders need an environment in which they are not “in charge” and through which they can be challenged in their thinking. External facilitation allows all members to function on an equal plane. It also offloads the facilitation role which can become a huge distraction that also diminishes returns.

So how about you? Is it possible you are over-joined and under-developed as a leader? It’s a worthy question for CEO’s, business owners, and management team members of all sized concerns and industries. It might well be time to look for a CEO Group or Mastermind Group in your community.

Summary Leadership Quote

“Investment of your time in the practice of community can lead to growth in the value of your leadership.”

Make Life Count