Perspectives and pointers from the FY2016/2017 PEAK Global Winner, EO Utah.
Entrepreneurs’ Organization’s Utah chapter decided to pursue a FY2016/2017 PEAK win due to, at least in part, tradition. The chapter had a history of winning EO’s former rewards program, the Rockstar, and the Board figured the chapter should take part in this latest iteration.
However, they went “after it with a twist,” explains EO Utah President FY2016/2017 Matt Glover. “We felt the program’s retention rate of 95% was artificially high, as our chapter had never renewed much above 90% (with a fair amount of arm wrangling). We didn’t want to retain members who weren’t enthusiastic. So, we said we’d achieve all the checks without worrying about that one because we believe most of the requirements of PEAK are ‘best practices’ for a chapter to follow.”
Turns out, this twist served the chapter well. EO Utah was recently named PEAK Global winner. We asked the chapter to reflect on their experiences and share what helped them achieve their win. Below, we outline three key factors that contributed to EO Utah’s success—lessons that could apply to any group pursuit.
1. A SHARED VISION
Under the leadership of Matt, the chapter adopted a theme for the year: Forum of One. “I was put on to the concept by EO Seattle, which had a similar theme a couple years ago. I got in touch with Chuck Bender in Seattle and we talked over concepts of chapter leadership and the value of EO. It boiled down to the instant trust and relationships you can build in EO—members treating each other like Forum members, responding promptly to correspondence, being there for each other, and enthusiastically supporting one another,” Matt explains.
“In Utah, we wanted that Forum-like bond to exist between every chapter member. We felt if we could achieve that feeling, we’d have a great and successful year.” Setting this vision and goal for the year, the chapter could act as one toward achieving best practices and, ultimately, a PEAK win.
2. LEADERSHIP & COMMUNICATION
When asked what inspired the chapter to commit to the significant work PEAK requires, Matt says, “Without a doubt, it was the leadership and vision of our Forum Chair, David Nicholson.” David involved Forum Moderators and held them accountable for communicating with their Forums about what was required for the chapter to succeed. Forums and Moderators were recognized for responding quickly to requests or in cases when 100% of members responded. Matt notes, “Increasing communication and response rates supported our efforts dramatically.”
Leadership from a Board that is high-functioning and a President that empowers members also plays a key role. “If you are going to achieve the Everest Peak award, the Board has to be committed and understand the value of checking off the Peak items. Also, a President who gets out of the way of a high-functioning Board is another must.”
Matt observes, “It’s just like our businesses. Get the right people in place, help them catch the vision of their roles, show them how performing their role well drives value to their friends (Chapter Members), and give them clear expectations of their required involvement. Then, have them develop a plan for their role, their needed budget, and have them present it to their fellow Board Members. Make sure they have the necessary tools, and get out of their way.”
3. ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR LIMITS
Overcommitting and trying to do too much is a common problem for successful business owners, and it’s a fault that can impact the health of a Chapter and the success of an initiative like PEAK. “At most Strategy Summits, each Board Member has a list of 10 or 12 initiatives they need to do on their MAP. Nobody has time to do all of them.”
Matt suggests that “you ask your Facilitator to not allow the Board Members to list too many initiatives on their sticky notes. If Board Members overcommit, they set themselves up for failure. Once they fail on one or two things, they tend to start failing on many things.”
Identifying the right support is also invaluable. EO Utah was able to recruit and retain a well-qualified Chapter Administrator, who took an active role in monitoring and executing tasks and in getting members renewed early in the process. She also personally reached out to Moderators and members when needed to complete necessary items.
Since pursuing and winning PEAK, EO Utah has seen significant benefits:
- Increased retention. “We ended up retaining more than 97% of our membership, largely due to a shift in the management of our Forums with a killer Forum Chair, David Nicholson,” says Matt.
- Greater engagement. “Our Chapter had higher attendance at events and more interactions.”
- Larger budget. “Our budget grew quite a bit, and set it itself up for even more rapid growth over the next couple years. I believe the Chapter will see many benefits over the next couple years due to this simple fact.”
- Morale boost. Matt explains, “From discussions with Board members, many of them felt like they learned some new Leadership skills and felt energized by accomplishing something so rare in the global organization. It was a big personal win for each Board Member—one they should feel proud about—and it makes them feel like they can pull off hard stuff. I know it gave me a big, personal morale boost.”
If you’re in a chapter that’s considering taking part in PEAK, Matt’s advice is, “Do it. Almost all of the check marks represent something that a well functioning, high performing chapter should be doing. So, if you want to be a top-notch chapter, do the work in Peak. The only checkmark that may be counter productive to a top notch chapter is the retention percentage, but even that, over time, is a measurement of the chapter’s performance. If you don’t want to renew 90–95% of your members, then, you’ve been bringing on the wrong types of members.”
PEAK stands for Performance, Excellence, Accountability, and Knowledge and is a rewards program encouraging best practices to drive chapter health and growth across the EO nation.
PEAK has a total of 49 possible metrics with DO IT and CHOOSE IT items that have to be satisfied based on chapter size. These asks are distributed in three main groups: Member Satisfaction, Board Performance, and Good Citizen.
Chapters have the possibility of three different levels, or tiers, of achievement:
- Kilimanjaro (silver)
- Aconcagua (gold)
- Everest (platinum)
You can learn more about the program, including deadlines, metrics, tier requirements and tips to help you succeed in the PEAK Survival Guide.
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