The Weekly Buzz – Peer to Peer
Many of the biggest technology innovations of the new millennium have involved replacing old hierarchies with distributed networks. From BitTorrent to Blockchain, it’s all about peer-to-peer. Recently we’ve come across a number of ways in which peer-to-peer can transform businesses and even our own sector of sales acceleration.
One part of sales acceleration is sales training, and we’re always looking for training best practices. One place to find them is looking at education research—there’s tons of studies on how people acquire and hone new skills and knowledge. Student-centered approaches to learning have moved away from the “teacher talks, student listens” style and toward more agency and participation from learners. Some innovators want to help people learn from their peers without any teacher in the picture. (As a side note, “distributed practice” is a highly-recommended approach to learning, but it refers to something different from distributed networks—it’s more like an Executive MBA approach to occasional bursts of intense study.)
Put Me in Coach
So what would taking the trainer out of the equation look like in sales? Or, if you do hire a sales trainer, how do you keep learning and improving after they go home? Chorus put out a comprehensive (but not too long) guide to sales coaching with advice on how to keep learning going continuously in a sales organization. One key piece of advice? “Set up a peer-to-peer coaching structure” so salespeople can exchange expertise with one another.
A New Shape for Your Org Chart
Peer-to-peer is beating top-down in organizational structures, too. Think of Uber and Airbnb. There are better and worse ways to decentralize, though. Harvard researchers recently made an argument for the strength of global networks like Airbnb’s over local ones like Uber’s.
Do you distribute authority or responsibility in your organization? Has it made you stronger or do you have a cautionary tale about peer-to-peer? We’d love to hear it at firstname.lastname@example.org.