A few days ago, I listened to a podcast in which my business partner of a decade and the founder of our business, Janus Boye was interviewed by behavioral scientist and psychology Ph.D., Susan Weinschenk, CEO at The Team W; a Wisconsin based advisory firm helping organisations with insights on brain and behavioral science.
The focus of the conversation was on the “J. Boye approach to peer learning and networking”; a model, which in our eyes is simple and yet has lots to offer. The questions and reactions in the podcast, however, reminded me that it is still a fairly alien phenomenon in many countries and cultures; even those we often compare ourselves with.
Janus explained that the basic key ingredients include a safe and confidential, yet relaxed environment, a high level of trust among the participants, a willingness to share not just successes, but also pain points and accepting that there is no guaranteed “perfect solution or answer” at the end; that it is a journey of discovery without any right or wrong answers or given solutions necessarily provided. Susan and her colleague repeatedly mentioned that – despite having partaken in many networks and professional meet-ups, they had not come across this “recipe” elsewhere.
Much has been written about Denmark and the Danish welfare and workplace models, our extremely low levels of corruption and our high levels of trust among citizens and between citizens and bodies of authority; employers, the state etc. I do think those societal circumstances have a part to play in why we have arrived at our approach; I don’t think it’s a coincidence that J. Boye originates in Denmark. On the other hand, we have not invented anything new; we have simply evolved and applied a framework and a template to an approach to learning that we see as nothing more than common sense.
Despite the simplicity of the concept, it cannot be scaled quickly. Building a group and a network on trust, deep knowledge of the others within, their changing needs etc. takes time. And many conversations – ideally face to face. But the outcome – when you see it working – is deeply satisfying. It is certainly why I still feel privileged to have my job – and love it even after a decade.
Give Susan and Janus’ conversation a listen – and join one of our peer groups to experience our approach to peer learning first hand!